Criminal Justice Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The purpose of this presentation is to examine school violence perpetrator Mr. Brendan Liam O'Rourke and his involvement in the Kelly Elementary School playground shooting in Carlsbad, California, on October 8, 2010.

Most people suffering from mental illness are not violent, unless they are abusing substances or their mental illness is untreated (i.e., never diagnosed or not taking their medication because they do not think they need them, thus anosognosia).

This mentally ill offender, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, will be examined through the lens of "8 Criminogenic Risk Factors". Relying upon the work of Andrews et al., Osher and Taxman constructed these to identify central risk factors for recidivism for mentally ill offenders.

The 8 Criminogenic Risk Factors are:

  1. History of Antisocial Behavior
  2. Antisocial Personality Pattern
  3. Antisocial Cognition
  4. Antisocial Attitudes
  5. Family and/or Marital Discord
  6. Poor School or Work Performance
  7. Few Leisure or Recreation Activities
  8. Substance Abuse

As noted by Skeem (2009) and Osher (2012), offenders with mental illnesses tend to have more of the eight criminogenic risk factors identified than those without mental illnesses. This, in turn, is more likely to propel persons with mental illnesses to the attention of authorities, and once under the scrutiny of the criminal justice system such persons are less likely to comport themselves and are more likely to spend longer periods of time under the control of the justice system. Without proper interventions like mental health courts, such individuals are destined to become high utilizers.


This is a presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference March 2022 in Las Vegas, NV