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Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatric Research on Mentally Disordered Offenders

Munthe, Christian; Radovic, Susanna and Anckarsäter, Henrik LU (2010) In Bioethics 24(1). p.35-44
Abstract
This paper analyses ethical issues in forensic psychiatric research on mentally disordered offenders, especially those detained in the psychiatric treatment system. The idea of a 'dual role' dilemma afflicting forensic psychiatry is more complicated than acknowledged. Our suggestion acknowledges the good of criminal law and crime prevention as a part that should be balanced against familiar research ethical considerations. Research aiming at improvements of criminal justice and treatment is a societal priority, and the total benefit of studies has to be balanced against the risks for research subjects inferred by almost all systematic studies. Direct substantial risks must be balanced by health benefits, and normal informed consent... (More)
This paper analyses ethical issues in forensic psychiatric research on mentally disordered offenders, especially those detained in the psychiatric treatment system. The idea of a 'dual role' dilemma afflicting forensic psychiatry is more complicated than acknowledged. Our suggestion acknowledges the good of criminal law and crime prevention as a part that should be balanced against familiar research ethical considerations. Research aiming at improvements of criminal justice and treatment is a societal priority, and the total benefit of studies has to be balanced against the risks for research subjects inferred by almost all systematic studies. Direct substantial risks must be balanced by health benefits, and normal informed consent requirements apply. When direct risks are slight, as in register-based epidemiology, lack of consent may be counter-balanced by special measures to protect integrity and the general benefit of better understanding of susceptibility, treatment and prevention. Special requirements on consent procedures in the forensic psychiatric context are suggested, and the issue of the relation between decision competence and legal accountability is found to be in need of further study. The major ethical hazard in forensic psychiatric research connects to the role of researchers as assessors and consultants in a society entertaining strong prejudices against mentally disordered offenders. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
mentally disordered offenders, informed consent, forensic psychiatry, dual role dilemma, ethics, public good, research ethics
in
Bioethics
volume
24
issue
1
pages
35 - 44
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000272631300006
  • scopus:72249117164
ISSN
0269-9702
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01773.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
683e8756-6bec-4a91-8b92-b55b8afa4037 (old id 1535585)
date added to LUP
2010-01-25 15:47:22
date last changed
2018-05-29 12:25:47
@article{683e8756-6bec-4a91-8b92-b55b8afa4037,
  abstract     = {This paper analyses ethical issues in forensic psychiatric research on mentally disordered offenders, especially those detained in the psychiatric treatment system. The idea of a 'dual role' dilemma afflicting forensic psychiatry is more complicated than acknowledged. Our suggestion acknowledges the good of criminal law and crime prevention as a part that should be balanced against familiar research ethical considerations. Research aiming at improvements of criminal justice and treatment is a societal priority, and the total benefit of studies has to be balanced against the risks for research subjects inferred by almost all systematic studies. Direct substantial risks must be balanced by health benefits, and normal informed consent requirements apply. When direct risks are slight, as in register-based epidemiology, lack of consent may be counter-balanced by special measures to protect integrity and the general benefit of better understanding of susceptibility, treatment and prevention. Special requirements on consent procedures in the forensic psychiatric context are suggested, and the issue of the relation between decision competence and legal accountability is found to be in need of further study. The major ethical hazard in forensic psychiatric research connects to the role of researchers as assessors and consultants in a society entertaining strong prejudices against mentally disordered offenders.},
  author       = {Munthe, Christian and Radovic, Susanna and Anckarsäter, Henrik},
  issn         = {0269-9702},
  keyword      = {mentally disordered offenders,informed consent,forensic psychiatry,dual role dilemma,ethics,public good,research ethics},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {35--44},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Bioethics},
  title        = {Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatric Research on Mentally Disordered Offenders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01773.x},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2010},
}