L'Information Psychiatrique


Psychiatrists facing criminal irresponsibility for mental disorder: Concepts, issues, perspectives Volume 98, issue 2, Février 2022


  • Figure 1
1 Docteure
31 allée Jules Guesde
Résidence du Jardin des Plantes,
bat C app 103 C
31000 Toulouse
2 Docteure
CH Gérard-Marchant
PCAMP (Pôle de Psychiatrie et conduites
addictives en milieu pénitentiaire)
* Correspondance

Following a criminal irresponsibility pronouncement for mental disorder, the state representative or judicial authorities can pronounce a measure for admission to psychiatric care if the conditions compromise the safety of persons or seriously undermine public order. Thus, a legal framework for medical intervention is required, which psychiatrists must master. In fact, in this case, the healthcare system's gradual reorganization in favour of outpatient care and the promotion of patients’ rights may confront psychiatrists with imperatives that seem contradictory: to protect society from patients having committed criminal or tortious acts, while also promoting their discharge from hospitalization under the best conditions as soon as possible. This article offers a simple and complete explanation of the concept of criminal irresponsibility for mental disorder, and the potential consequences on care and the modalities of involuntary hospitalization.