Statements regarding criminal responsibility

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During the last five years the annual number of forensic psychiatry mental examinations carried out in Finland has been less than 200.

Table 1. Number of mental examinations in Finland and at Niuvanniemi Hospital in 2005-2008

YearEntire countryNiuvanniemi Hospital
200812645
200712645
200613443
200519758

Other examination facilities included HUCH Psychiatry Centre, Vanha Vaasa Hospital, Oulu University Hospital Psychiatry Clinic, Tampere University Hospital Psychiatry Clinic, Psychiatric Prison Hospital and Kellokoski Hospital. The waiting period for examination is now well under 6 months; the duration of examinations rarely exceeds the set two-month limit. The average examination period at Niuvanniemi Hospital is 56 days, of which the waiting period for a decision of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) is two to three days. In recent years the opinion of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health has rarely deviated from the criminal responsibility statements presented by forensic psychiatry experts.

Generally the question has been one of circumstances in which the person issuing the statement has assessed the patient as being of reduced criminal responsibility while the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) has considered the patient as having criminal responsibility (table 2).

Table 2. Criminal responsibility statements of physicians carrying out mental examinations and the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health in 2004-2008.

Year and number of mental health statementsCriminal responsibility statement of examining physicianCriminal responsibility statement of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health
n%n%
2004RESP10261,4510663,86
n=166RCR3521,13018,07
 IRR2917,453018,07
 
2005RESP12061,2312664,28
n=196RCR4120,923517,86
 IRR3517,853517,86
 
2006RESP8462,688563,43
n=134RCR2014,921914,17
 IRR2820,92820,9
 RESP+RCR10,7510,75
 RESP+IRR10,7510,75
      
2007RESP6853,97055,5
n=126RCR2116,71915,1
 RR3527,83527,8
 RESP+RCR10,810,8
 RESP+IRR10,810,8
      
2008RESP7761,17861,9
n=126RCR2015,91915,1
 RR29232923
WCR = with criminal responsibilityRESP = Responsible
RCR = reduced criminal responsibilityRCR = Reduced criminal responsibility
LCR = lacking criminal responsibilityRR = Irresponsible