Arson or fire setting in offenders with intellectual disability: Clinical characteristics, forensic histories, and treatment outcomes

Regi T. Alexander, Verity Chester, Fatima N. Green, Ignatius Gunaratna, Sudeep Hoare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background Although many with intellectual disability come to the attention of services for fire setting, research in this area is scarce, which poses challenges for management.

Method: In this paper we examined those with a fire-setting history (n = 30), identified from a sample of 138 patients treated in a UK forensic intellectual disability service. Those with a fire-setting history were compared to those without this history on various clinical, forensic, and treatment outcome variables.

Results: Fire-setting was associated with significant psychopathology, including psychosis and personality disorders. Only half of the fire setters had a formal arson conviction. Fire setters were more likely to have a violence conviction and criminal sections/restriction orders.

Conclusions: Half of those with fire-setting histories did not have formal arson convictions, highlighting the need for thorough history taking. Prevalent comorbidity suggests interventions should focus on treating psychopathology before commencing offence-specific arson therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Learning disability
  • Arson
  • Fire setting
  • Mental Health
  • Secure
  • Forensic

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