Pilot Study for the Development of a National Database of Forensic Mental Health Patients in Germany

Patients with mental illness or substance use disorder who committed a crime can be treated in forensic psychiatry in Germany if the offence is related to their disorder. This treatment is time-consuming and expensive and affects human rights of patients to a large extend. Therefore, therapeutic concepts and treatment organization shall be guided by evidence based practices at their latest state of the art. Unfortunately, there does exist a lack of even basic information about the population of forensic mental health patients in Germany. Our current project, funded by the local Damp-Stiftung, is planned as a pilot for a larger, nationwide main study. Over a period of 12 month the planned research instruments and processes shall be examined for their feasibility and usability and adapted, if necessary. Therefore, a small scale data collection is planned with six forensic mental health hospitals in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Pommerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Baden-Wurttemberg. All of these hospitals treat forensic mental health patients who had no or diminished criminal responsibility due to a severe mental illness and therefore, were convicted due to § 63 StGB of the German Penal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB). This procedure directly contributes to the further development of evidence based treatment and quality assurance of this demanding patient population.