Murder Recidivism Among offenders with Mental Illness in Thailand

  • Pakawadee Pradabphetrat PhD candidate at Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Thailand,
  • Sunee Kanyajit Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Thailand,


Recidivism, Homicide, Murder of Family Members, Offenders with Mental Illness, Social Learning Theory.


The available information and data regarding the recidivism rates of mentally ill offenders involved in murder cases in Thailand are limited. Therefore, it can be argued that the direct approach to addressing the problem in the Thai correctional system is both ineffective and lacking in foresight on the part of management. Hence, the present study endeavours to investigate the aetiology, demographic characteristics of victims, and procedural aspects associated with instances of murder recidivism among individuals with mental illness in the context of Thailand. This study employed a qualitative research methodology to gather data through in-depth interviews with individuals who have a history of offending and also suffer from mental illness. The participants included prison officers, nurses, social workers, and psychologists. The purposive selection method was employed in order to carefully choose a group of samples that aligned with the specific objectives of the research. The data derived from the in-depth interview was subjected to content analysis techniques in order to identify significant topics or groups of concepts. Research has revealed that individuals with mental illness in Thailand who have previously committed murder tend to engage in recidivism that is predominantly spontaneous in nature. These instances of recidivism typically involve the perpetration of violence against family members and often involve the use of readily available weapons during the commission of the crime. It is worth noting that the recurrence of criminal behaviour among individuals with mental illness tends to exhibit a similar pattern to their initial offence. This implies that the acquired criminal behaviour of offenders with mental illness bears resemblance to that of offenders without mental illness. This study proposes that it is imperative for pertinent authorities to engage in vigilant monitoring of individuals with mental health issues who have been released or reintegrated into society following their involvement in criminal activities. Moreover, there exists a strong correlation between mental offenders' release and the involvement of families and communities. It is imperative for families to actively contribute to the care of psychiatric patients, demonstrating attentiveness and diligently mitigating risk factors associated with violent behaviour. It is imperative for community members or leaders to possess a comprehensive understanding of individuals within their community and to collaborate in order to effectively oversee and provide support for psychiatric patients residing within the community. In the event that individuals within a community detect symptoms or indicators of psychiatric ex-convicts, it is imperative that they promptly notify the local health department so as to facilitate the expeditious referral of said individuals for psychiatric treatment.

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