Predicting the recidivism of mentally disordered firesetters

The psychiatric literature has asserted that arsonists are a particularly dangerous group of mentally disordered offenders with a high likelihood of setting further fires, yet the scant empirical data do not support that contention. We examined the postrelease firesetting, violent, and nonviolent re...

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Published in:Journal of interpersonal violence
Main Author: Rice, M. E.
Contributors: Harris, G. T. (Author)
Format: Electronic/Print Article
Language:English
Published: 1996
In:Journal of interpersonal violence
Year: 1996, Volume: 11, Issue: 3, Pages: 364-375
Online Access: doi
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Summary:The psychiatric literature has asserted that arsonists are a particularly dangerous group of mentally disordered offenders with a high likelihood of setting further fires, yet the scant empirical data do not support that contention. We examined the postrelease firesetting, violent, and nonviolent recidivism of 208 male firesetters who had been admitted to a maximum security psychiatric hospital. In an average period of 7.8 years at risk, 16% set another fire, 31% committed a violent offense, 57% committed a nonviolent offense, and 66% exhibited some form of recidivism. In general, personal characteristics that predicted firesetting recidivism were quite different from those that predicted nonviolent outcome and very different from those that predicted violent recidivism
ISSN:0886-2605
DOI:10.1177/088626096011003004