{br} STUCK with your assignment? {br} When is it due? {br} Get FREE assistance. Page Title: {title}{br} Page URL: {url}
UK: +44 748 007-0908, USA: +1 917 810-5386 [email protected]


    examine the relationship between mental illness and violent crime. You should be able to apply some of the theories of crime causation from earlier in the course to this topic.

    Prepare a 6 page report in Microsoft Word that addresses these points:

    PART I

    Identify and discuss the specific causes of mental issues that can lead one to criminal behavior. Consider biological, social, and familial influences.


    Case Study

    Research and analyze one of the following mass shootings from recent American history:

    Jared Loughner, Tucson, Arizona, 2011
    Virginia Tech University, 2007
    Pulse nightclub, Orlando, Florida, 2016
    Sandy Hook elementary, 2012
    Fort Hood military base, 2009
    For your selected case study, address these questions:

    Based on what you know about the shooter, what was he attempting to accomplish? Did he have a mission behind his crime?
    Analyze and discuss the shooter’s mental condition at the time of the shooting. Keep in mind that there may be reliable information available on this subject, including letters or other messages created by the shooter himself.
    Evaluate the response by law enforcement as the incident took place. Was it possible to produce a better outcome?
    Last, offer a well-reasoned policy that seeks to reconcile mental health with gun ownership. Keeping in mind Constitutional guarantees and Supreme Court decisions such as Chicago v. McDonald and Heller v. District of Columbia, how might lawmakers legally restrict gun ownership among those with mental issues?



Subject Law and governance Pages 7 Style APA



The connection between mental illness and violent crime is an intense discussion that considers people with mental illness as more vulnerable victims of vicious crimes vis-à-vis the main normal culprits of it. The prevalent ideology is that people with mental illness are susceptible to commit violent and destructive acts than normal people in society. Such an ideology is extensive to the criminal justice field where victims with mental illness get considered as criminals hence are arrested, charged, and sentenced to prison for a lengthier period of time vis-à-vis normal victims. Such universal application of the law is rooted in the impartiality concept of law which is unselective in nature. This paper discusses the connection between mental illness and violent crime; it is divided into two parts. The first part highlights and discusses the particular causes of mental concerns that can contribute to criminal behavior in line with biological, social, and familial effects. The second part expounds on a case study of the mass shooting of Virginia Tech University from recent American history.

Detailed causes of mental issues that can lead an individual to criminal behavior

There are various biological, social, and familial theories that explain the genesis of mental issues which in return can contribute to criminal behavior. The biological viewpoint considers mental illness to be connected to biological occurrences such as imbalances in genetic and chemical factors (Bonta, & Andrews, 2016); prenatal injuries, brain abnormalities, injuries or defects, infections, exposure to toxic substances, and abuse of substances among others (Wyatt, & Midkiff, 2006). The protagonist of biological theories and viewpoints strongly believes that the main cause of the mental issue that can lead to criminal behavior is the deformation of an individual’s brain and the central nervous system (Rafter, 2008). The biological standpoint holds the view that mental challenges or disorders strike an individual with violent brutality hence producing terrifying hallucinations, unceasing depression, and unavoidable paranoia and obsession that contributes to illegitimate acts. Other factors include gene issues in line with environmental interactions which in return bring about manic depression also known as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; personality disorder and cognitive impairment. There are also biological problems associated with childbirth such as postpartum psychosis which affects mostly mothers after giving birth hence changes their way of behavior completely. If such behavior is not monitored and nurtured then it can contribute to vicious, cruel, and violent behavior that can translate into criminal behavior (Skalkidou et al., 2012).

On the other hand, there are societal influences that cause mental issues that contribute to criminal behavior. Societal influences play a great part in the behaviors that individuals exhibit especially in public; it is said that man is what he eats so is his or her behavior (Ilgova et al., 2017). The societal influences are mostly rooted in how a child is brought up, grows, and develops and the people that influence his or her world. Furthermore, societal influences refer to childhood abuse, poverty, long-term stress, depression, and bereavement social loneliness, or isolation that makes a child keep off from the general norms and values of the society that keeps him or her from evil criminal thoughts (World Health Organization, 2014). In the same breath, most challenges associated with mental illness that can lead an individual to criminal behavior are influenced by social elements such as individuals’ social class or ranks in the society, one’s gender and race, the patterns of individual’s household, and by extension ethnic group that one belongs to (Zubrick et al., 2014). Additionally, some social institutions and amenities greatly influence the positive or negative thinking and behavior of people in society. Such institutions include health care institutions, societal security systems, peer groups, labor markets and disability systems that are categorical in nature (Walsh, 2012). 

Lastly, there is a familial influence that causes mental illness which translates to criminal behavior in different ways. This kind of influence incorporates coercive relation systems by which parents tend to employ a lot of force and behavior in making their young ones submit and obey their demands (Kim, &Deater-Deckard, 2011). The social learning and control theories have a great relationship in so far parental attitude on substance use and its abuse is concerned and the impact it has on the children who are directly linked to it. There is a likelihood that when parents tolerate immoral behavior and expose their children so much to substance abuse, drinking of alcohol, and criminal behavior as a way they themselves live their life then children are likely to follow suit (Yule, & Wilens, 2011). Adolescents whose parents tolerate bad behavior and allow them to interact with higher-risk peers are likely to embrace bad behavior out of influence. The common way teenagers learn is through observation, and socialization which is influenced by family behavior’s that acts as his principal social class (Foster, O’Brien, & Korhonen, 2012). In a nutshell, when teenagers watch their parents socialize and interact with good and bad people, their decisions are influenced rightly or wrongly hence affects their moral life and behavior (Neubauer, & Lank, 2016). 

Analysis of Virginia Tech University, 2007 shooting from recent American history

The shooting of Virginia Tech University took place on April 16, in the year 2007 in the United States. It was precipitated by Seung-Hui a university student who thereafter committed suicide (Vieweg et al., 2008). He was helped by some residents of South Korean origin and some undergraduate students of the university. The shooting caused the death of thirty-two people and seventeen maimed ones. The shooting took place in the morning and the police were soon informed of the incident hence took coverage as soon as they could. The people who attacked the university received global media coverage and triggered prevalent criticism of the gun culture of the US (Palen et al., 2007). It ignited a discussion about gun laws of the country, gun violence, and gaps in the United States’ system for treating issues to do with mental health, accountability of college administration, ethics and conduct of journalists, and privacy of laws. The university’s board panel criticized the administration of the University for its failure to act professionally and with caution for the purpose of reducing the number of causalities. It, therefore, responded by appointing a body of persons to evaluate the incident and to evaluate the laws that govern the use of guns. It also tried to mitigate the gaps in mental health care systems and privacy laws (Littleton, Axsom, & Grills-Taquechel, 2011).

The findings of the investigation established that Cho who was born in South Korea and thereafter moved to the United States in the year 1992 with his family had particularly besieged any of his targets (LaFree, Dugan, & Miller, 2019). The public thereafter came to learn the fact that Cho who spoke to no one and was known as a loner by his fellow students had a mental health issue that translated to his uncouth behavior (Littleton, Axsom, & Grills-Taquechel, 2011). In the same frame of thought, his cruel, angry, and violent literature that he did in his class evaluations raised a lot of concerns amongst his teachers as well as students. The university was fined by the department of United States’ education for its failure to issue an instant university-wide cautionary action after the culprit shot two victims (McNamee, 2007).

To reconcile mental illness with gun ownership, a well-defined policy should be put into place; such a policy should be based on evidence rather than being driven by a crisis challenge. The state has to adopt a policy that restricts especially mentally challenged people whose behavior represents detectible risk influences of crime and violence (LaFree, Dugan, & Miller, 2019). The policy should be subject to evaluation on the laws that restrain gun violence that cause harm to one’s self or to other people without any justification. It should be considerate to the implication for family professionals; it must acknowledge the complex risks that come with ownership of guns not only to the mentally ill people but to everyone in general (McGinty, Webster, & Barry, 2014). This means it must define mitigating measures for reducing the negative effects of high rates of owning guns. The policy must have training recommendations for people with mental illness suppose they are given guns for whatsoever reason that prevents them from security situations (Swanson et al., 2015). Gun violence and mental illness are challenging problems hence require a variety of thoughtful results.


It is crucial to note that the U.S. has a great number of firearm violence-related challenges vis-à-vis other nations. Any firearm violence-related case is both an important and unnecessary civic health concern. Mental illness is a serious risk factor that can exacerbate violence and death irrespective of the common misconception that people have. The mental health professional should be enhanced with the roles of guiding and counseling people with mental illness and challenges in line with firearm safety. This helps in reducing the risks involved without stigmatizing people with mental illness.  Firearm prohibition for mentally ill people helps in reducing violence and the kind of shooting that has been discussed in this paper. It also reduces some criminally generated violence, however, these calls for more multi strategies inclusive of legal help, health, and public safety. It is a holistic process that calls for everyone to be vigilant; increasing such attention helps in informing and in reviewing policies designed to mitigate gun violence. This paper has critically evaluated the relationship between mental illness and violent crime. It has further highlighted and discussed particular causes of mental concerns that can contribute to criminal behavior. Lastly, it has evaluated the mass shooting of Virginia Tech University from recent American history.masterstroke in dealing with the mental health issues that surround us all.


Bonta, J., & Andrews, D. A. (2016). The psychology of criminal conduct. Taylor & Francis.

Foster, K., O’Brien, L., & Korhonen, T. (2012). Developing resilient children and families when parents have mental illness: A family‐focused approach. International journal of mental health nursing21(1), 3-11.

Ilgova, E. V., Smagina, T. A., Vershinina, G. I., Kuznetcova, I. O., & Gorbachev, M. V. (2017). Socio-Economic Risk Factors of Criminal Behavior in Teenager Environment: A Regional Aspect. Journal of legal, ethical and regulatory issues20(3), 1-13.

Kim, J., & Deater-Deckard, K. (2011). Family influence: Emotional development. Retrieved on May 5, 2021,

from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/family-influence#:~:text=Family%20influences%20include%20coercive%20interaction,into%20submitting%20to%20their%20demands.6 


LaFree, G., Dugan, L., & Miller, E. (2019). Putting terrorism in context: Lessons from the Global Terrorism Database. Routledge.

Littleton, H., Axsom, D., & Grills-Taquechel, A. E. (2011). Longitudinal evaluation of the relationship between maladaptive trauma coping and distress: Examination following the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping24(3), 273-290.

McGinty, E. E., Webster, D. W., & Barry, C. L. (2014). Gun policy and serious mental illness: priorities for future research and policy. Psychiatric Services65(1), 50-58.


McNamee, W. (2007). Virginia Tech Shooting leaveves 32 dead. Retrieved on May 5, 2021,

from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/massacre-at-virginia-tech-leaves-32-dead

Neubauer, F., & Lank, A. G. (2016). The family business: Its governance for sustainability. Springer.

Palen, L., Vieweg, S., Sutton, J., Liu, S. B., & Hughes, A. (2007, October). Crisis informatics: Studying crisis in a networked world. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on E-Social Science (pp. 7-9).

Rafter, N. (2008). The criminal brain: Understanding biological theories of crime. NYU Press.

Swanson, J. W., McGinty, E. E., Fazel, S., & Mays, V. M. (2015). Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy. Annals of epidemiology25(5), 366-376.


Related Samples

WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
👋 Hi, how can I help?