Indexed on: 27 Feb '08Published on: 27 Feb '08Published in: Der Nervenarzt
German forensic psychiatric hospitals are confronted with a continuously increasing number of mentally disordered offenders. It has not yet been studied whether and to what extent this increase varies between individual states of the German republic. Variability would indicate possibilities of regulation.We analyzed annual data from the Federal German Office of Statistics on hospital treatment orders (Paragraph 63 German penal code; incidence) and capacity/occupancy of forensic hospitals (prevalence). The observation period included the period from 1993 to 2003.There were noticeable differences in all cross-sectional and longitudinal measures (rates of sentencing/incidence and occupancy/prevalence, slope of incidence growth and prevalence, rates of balancing/discharging). Differences between the federal states increased over the period under observation.Divergent trends of the German states despite common statutory foundations are indicative of options to control the increase in mentally disordered offenders. Possible causes of the divergent trends are discussed.