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Psychol Med. 1985 Aug;15(3):597-607.

Psychiatric aspects of contempt of court among women.


The case histories of 72 women admitted to prison for contempt of court in 1979-83 were reviewed. The sample included 45% of all women imprisoned for contempt in England and Wales over the 5-year period. The contemnors were significantly older than other sentenced prisoners, one third were foreign born and 37.5% were suffering from psychiatric disorder. Two thirds of the mentally disordered group had a paranoid disorder, litigiousness was a prominent feature of their illness, and 52% committed contempt in the context of a matrimonial dispute or a dispute with neighbours. Recent legislation may help to prevent the imprisonment of mentally ill contemnors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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