Mentally Disordered Non-Psychotic Criminal Offenders: Treatment Instead of Punishment

Peter Gottlieb, Gorm Gabrielsen, Alex Kørner, Liv Os Stølan

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Background: By including §69 into the Danish Penal Code, it has since 1975 been possible to use psychiatric measures as legal sanctions for even non-psychotic offenders-if the measure is believed to be preventive of future crime. To be able to decide on the applicability of treatment measures as sanctions in criminal cases, the court will request a psychiatric report. They may furthermore ask a medical expert consultation board, the Danish Medico-Legal Council, for an opinion on the mental status of the defendant. Aims: To describe a sample of offenders falling under §69 and the use of the section in sentencing offenders to treatment instead of punishment. Methods: All 298 opinions given by the Medico-Legal Council between April 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007 of defendants definitely or possibly falling under §69 of the Danish Penal Code were rated together with the psychiatric assessment reports and the final verdicts on socio-demographic, health and criminal items, and the data were computerized. Results: The sample was characterized by severe criminality and mental disorder. Forty-six percent (138/298) were sentenced by the court to a psychiatric measure instead of punishment. Conclusions: The results document that §69 of the Danish Penal Code is used as intended by the law.

TidsskriftNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)400-406
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2013


  • §69 of the Danish Penal Code
  • Court-ordered measures of treatment
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Non-psychotic offenders