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Kennedy O. Ololo
Anthony Chukwuma Nwali
Okolie Charles Nkem
Elizabeth Ola Owonibi
Sani Gambo Yusuf
Benedette Nneka Okezie
Linus Adama


criminal behavior, criminogenic thinking, mental health, prisoners, serious mental illness


Criminogenic thinking refers to the cognitive processes that support criminal behavior. There have been growing interest towards examining the association of mental health with individuals’ involvement in the criminal justice system to gain an understanding of how mental health problems significantly affect individuals’ thinking and behavior that could lead to criminal conducts. The purpose of this paper was to explore the connection between criminogenic thinking, criminal behavior, and mental health of justice-involved individuals. A narrative literature review procedure was used as the study methodology to provide an overview of the correlation between criminogenic thinking, criminal behavior, and mental health of this group. According to the results from literature analysis, criminogenic thinking is a factor that contributes to criminal behavior and there is a strong correlation between the two constructs. Specifically, criminogenic thinking and criminogenic risk factors have a greater correlation with criminal behavior than mental illness based on the literature analysis. It is crucial to understand, however, that mental health problems can influence the way that an individual thinks and behaves when it comes to crime. Additionally, criminogenic risk factors can be addressed through proactive community initiatives and evidence-based interventions that focus on (a) reducing these risk factors and criminal behavior, and (b) promoting positive mental health outcomes. Further research is required so as to gain a deeper understanding of the complex association among criminal behavior, criminogenic thinking, and mental health. A community-based alternative may be more useful for prisoners who have serious mental illness (SMI) than traditional incarceration. Therefore, the upscaling of evidence-based and cost-effective community-driven interventions and policies aimed at minimizing recidivism and enhancing the well-being of this population with SMI is needed.

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