2018 Volume 59 Issue 2 Pages 177-186
It has come to be known that there exists a certain number of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among the juvenile offenders. Requests for psychiatric evaluations by child psychiatrists are increasing as most delinquent behaviors conducted by such persons are difficult to understand in terms of existing forensic psychiatry.
In psychiatric evaluations for juveniles with ASD, the background and motivations behind delinquent behavior, and mental status of the individual should be evaluated and analyzed taking their autistic characteristics into adequate account. In addition, arrangements for additional explanations are necessary subsequent to witness examinations in order to ascertain accurate understanding by the judges, given the disparity between ASD and traditional psychiatric disorders, the diversity of clinical manifestation in ASD, the fact that even general psychiatrists have difficulty in understanding the mental states of individuals with ASD, in addition to the jury system in which laymen in both justice and psychiatry are required to determine guilt or innocence.
This article discusses some matters requiring consideration in conducting psychiatric evaluations and witness examination in juvenile cases involving ASD, from the perspectives of understanding the disorder, determining criminal liability, and deviation from the accepted conventions of forensic psychiatry.