DAMMAM — Mental illness has increasingly become an escape route in many cases of social delinquency and criminal behavior. According to Mohammed Al-Zahrani, director of Alamal Complex for Mental Health in Dammam, many crimes are justified by the perpetrator due to mental illness.
He was keen to stress that the authorities are geared up to spot phony claims of insanity, “It is not possible for anyone to commit a crime and escape punishment due to claims of mental illness. The security bodies refer any claim of mental illness to the medical community for thorough examinations. These tests are very robust and consistent with similar tests administered at the world’s leading psychiatric hospitals.”
Dr. Adel Al-Jamaan is pleased that the society has a more progressive view of the condition. “Where in the past mental illness was considered shameful, psychiatric clinics are now much more common,” he said, according to a report in Al-Riyadh newspaper.
He emphasized that families need to be more aware of any member suffering mental disorders. It is futile for them to claim mental illness after a crime has been committed.
This is typically a ploy to escape punishment. If the perpetrator is indeed classed as unstable then the family is liable for not seeking treatment and saving the society of the hurt that is caused by their mindless actions. He called for “family courts” to be established to deal with such cases. Involving psychiatric hospitals to investigate the criminal’s medical history would be invaluable before the appropriate judicial action is determined.
Similarly, Jawahir Ba Risees, a social worker, believes that mental illness has become a contrived excuse for some delinquents to cover for their heinous misdemeanors. Some are fully aware of mental illness and its associated behaviors from books and hollywood movies and assume fake behaviors to dupe investigators. She called for better coordination between “psychiatric hospitals” and “police” to verify the psychological illness of a patient.
Mohammad Ashour, a researcher of family and social behavior, said that it is regrettable that criminals falsely claim mental illness under false pretense. He suggested that mentally disturbed persons should wear bracelets to identify in the same way heart patients do. He also identified TV as the source of the urban myth that mentally ill patients have the right to commit crimes unchecked. — SG