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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


ESCOBAR-ECHAVARRIA, Juliana; MOLINA-OSORIO, Sergio Ignacio  and  RESTREPO-BERNAL, Diana Patricia. Socio-demographic, psychiatric and legal characterisation of Colombian unimputable patients, 2000-2013,. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2017, vol.46, n.2, pp.82-87. ISSN 0034-7450.


Mental illness has been associated with violent behaviour. Criminal behaviour in the mentally ill population in Colombia has not been well studied.


This is a retrospective, descriptive study, from a secondary source. An analysis was made of the sociodemographic, clinical, and legal variables of 127 unfit to plead patients. A descriptive analysis of quantitative variables was performed by measures of central tendency, and frequencies and percentages were calculated for the qualitative variables. The software SPSS® version 21.0 was used to analyse the data, and the study was approved by the Research Committee of the CES University.


The median age was 34 years, interquartile range 19 years, and 92.1% were men. The primary diagnosis was schizophrenia in 63%, 66.9% consumed alcohol, and 58.3% other drugs at the time they committed the crime. Almost one/third (29.1%) had a criminal record, and the most common type of crime was murder in 44.1% of cases. Around half (50.3%) of the victims had some degree of consanguinity with the patient.


The study subjects had higher illiteracy and lower educational levels than the Colombian prison population. Schizophrenia was the main diagnosis, and homicide the most prevalent crime, which agrees with the literature where non-indictable patients are responsible for 5-20% of murder cases worldwide.


To reduce the gap between the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, especially schizophrenia, should be within the specific actions to prevent violence and criminal behaviour associated with mental illness.

Keywords : Crime; Mental disorders; Behaviour; Violence; Insanity defence.

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