Lies, damned lies, and statistics. But it's the best I can come up with. Worst case scenario for the hypothesis that crazy = violent.Slightly less than one percent of the US population is currently in prison.
That's not even counting the people on parole!
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Prisoners in 2006
At yearend 2006, 2.26 million inmates were in custody in
State and Federal prisons and in local jails. This was an
incarceration rate of 751 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents,
or 1 in every 133 residents.
Of those about 52% were convicted of violent crimes. So about 0.5% of the population of the US is a violent criminal.
As for crazy people in jail, the numbers are lining up with the studies finding that approximately 15% of us are violent.Here's a popular one.
A growing number of people with mental illness are being held in US prisons, according to a recent report by the US Department of Justice.
The report is the first in-depth national study of mental illness in US prisons. It reported a total of 283800 prison inmates with some form of mental illness in mid-1998, which is about 16%of the total prison population. This figure was in line with a previous literature review, suggesting that 6-15%of people in city and county jails, and 10-15%of inmates in state prisons, had severe mental illness.
The report suggested that one of the main reasons for the increasing number of mentally ill people in all US prisons was the wave of discharges from long stay hospitals that started in the United States in the 1960s. The number of people in state psychiatric hospitals decreased from 559000 in 1955 (out of a population of 165 million) to 72000 by 1998 (out of a total national population of around 250 million). At the same time, the number of prison beds has increased four times in the past 25 years, raising the number of prisoners to 1.8 million.
I've found other studies with the same range of violent behavior in the crazy population, 5-15%. So while the above study might be flawed, the numbers are still good. For now. Compared with the general population, we're allegedly more prone to violence. Compared with the general population we're also vastly more prone to be the victims of violent crime.
Now let's crunch the numbers a bit more.
The real whack jobs among us make up about 2% of the population take up about 15% of the beds in prisons. Given that the studies are all showing ranges of violent behavior of 5-15% and half of the prison population is in there for violent crime, put us in with that group. There are plenty of nutjobs who come up with white collar crimes after all. More likely it's people in state prisons for pretty much just being crazy and stuff happened when poorly trained police officers made things worse. So 7-8% of the prison population is made up of actually violent crazy people.
Which means that about 44% of the prison population is violent non-crazy people.
Again, not counting people on parole, about 0.25% of the non-crazy population of the United States is a violent felon.
"Dangerously" crazy population of the US (bipolar, schizophrenic, assorted other psychotic diagnoses): approximately 6,000,000
Not-crazy population of the United States (excludes all psychiatric diagnoses, or about 95% of the population): approximately 285,000,000
Approximate violent crazy population of the US, based on the above: 420,000
Approximate violent non-crazy population of the US: 712,500
The numbers for the non-crazy are probably low because the only juveniles included are those poor kids tried as adults. Also the numbers for the crazy are disproportionately high because, again, although I rounded up to try to account for parolees and people who were killed in things like gang violence, robberies gone wrong, shoot-outs with cops, family annihilators, etc. That is slightly offset by the crazy committing suicide by cop. Plus many of the crazy don't survive prison.
And this is counting people who are just convicted. Crazy: more likely to be caught and convicted. Not crazy: less likely than crazy.
In the end the numbers of violent non-crazies are probably much higher than violent crazies. The results are still the same, proportionately some of us may be more likely to go off and do something crazy violent, but there are still at least twice as many violent non-crazies out there. The odds are a non-crazy person is more likely to commit a violent crime just be sheer numbers of population if nothing else!
Personally I'm not buying the 5-15% of us being violent for a very simple reason: all of the studies get that range from people who have either been hospitalized or arrested. In other words, they are people who have flipped out enough to get violent. So extrapolating from the same experimental population I could report from a study of prison populations that 44% of the non-crazy people in the US are violent to the point they need careful monitoring at all times.
No, as written in previous posts too many of us just don't have it in us for a variety of reasons to commit any violent acts. If 15% of the prison population is crazy, that's 300,000 crazy people in prison out of a population of 6,000,000 psychotic and 15,000,000 total psychiatric. Crazy doesn't get paroled. Crazy often doesn't make it out of prison. 0.5% of us being violent, to be generous, is a much more likely statistic. Twice as likely as the general population, but given that those most likely to get violent make up 2% of the population the numbers look like this:
Violent non-crazy population pool: 712,500
Violent crazy population pool: 30,000
One is more than twenty times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime at the hands of a non-crazy person. No history of mental illness. They can look for the crazy all they want and they'll never find it.
I hope all of those people who do their best to avoid us feel safer now.