Poor practice in the assessment of personalitydisordered offenders

The dispute between a categorical and dimensional concept of personality disorder, together with inadequate assessment tools, causes clinical uncertainty—the net effect of which is poor practice. Moran(92) also draws attention to gender and sociocultural biases in the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. These general difficulties in diagnosing personality disorder(93) are compounded in the assessment of offenders by judgmental attitudes in relation to the provision of treatment.(94) Forensic psychiatrists in the United Kingdom are divided in their views about the proper treatment of personality-disordered offenders. (95) While a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder may be used to justify rejection for treatment, the assessment of 'need for treatment' in a personality-disordered offender is a complex task that begs many questions. The offender's need or society's need? Can the need be met by current psychiatric knowledge? Are the principal needs in the social, welfare, or substance misuse fields?

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