Mental Health Stigma Towards Offenders and Juror Decision Making

Tremlin, Rachel (2021) Mental Health Stigma Towards Offenders and Juror Decision Making. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Background: Mental health stigma within the criminal justice system is poorly researched despite there being a wider breadth of research into the stigma associated with mental health conditions. Similarly, there is very little research considering the joint stigma that derives from both offending and mental health conditions. One potential impact of such stigma could be within the context of decision making by a jury.

Method: The systematic review aimed to understand the prevalence of mental health stigma towards offenders and how such stigma was measured. Selected studies varied in location and samples, including the general public, students and mental health professionals. The empirical paper focused on how the impact of stigma and the provision of mental health information given to a juror affected their decision making in an online mock criminal trial.

Results: Twelve studies were included in the systematic review, of which five were compared with control groups with neither mental health or offending histories, and most demonstrated that stigma towards offenders with mental health difficulties was higher. Psychometric tools chosen to measure offender mental health stigma were extremely varied and this prevented full comparisons. The empirical study found that the provision of mental health information (both symptoms and a diagnostic label) reduced the probability of a juror giving a guilty decision by almost 6 times. It also found those with higher stigma were in some cases 50% more likely to give a guilty verdict (where stigma scores increased by one standard deviation).

Conclusions: Offender mental health stigma is prevalent across the globe. Such stigma may influence the decision making processes that lead to a juror’s verdict in a mock trial. The way in which information about a mental health difficulty is presented may also impact such decision making. Limitations, implications and recommendations for future research are considered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2021 12:02
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 12:02

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