Not all crime and violent acts are committed by psychopathic offenders. Individuals with a variety of mental disorders and addictions commit even some of the most unspeakable crimes in our society today.
One of the biggest challenges facing our criminal justice system is incarcerating violent offenders with substance addictions, personality disorders (including psychopaths), various types of brain damage, major affective disorders (such as mood disorders), and schizophrenia.
We hear the modern buzzword “psychopath” in so many contexts that it seems to not have any meaning anymore and the definition often gets blurred when it comes to violent offenders. Psychopaths are not out of touch with reality and do not experience delusions or hallucinations. This type of psychopathic behavior is by choice and is freely exercised by these types of individuals.
Psychopaths suffer emotional and interpersonal problems such as being superficial, egocentric, having shallow emotions, deceitful, and manipulative with a lack of empathy or remorse. To add to their already antisocial lifestyle, they are social deviants who are impulsive with poor behavioral controls and generally have shown early childhood behavioral problems. Psychopathy has been described as a type of syndrome with a cluster of related symptoms.
Crime is often the next most logical step for a psychopath. It is their “living for the moment” mentality along with the lack of remorse and empathy that makes them an almost prefect candidate to become a criminal. For psychopathic violence in the cases of serial killers, we see them as cold-blooded and even causal about recounting their heinous actions.
One of the most startling facts about psychopaths is that they aren’t limited to criminal offenders and murders. In fact, the psychopathic personality, for the most part, can be found manipulating their trade without murdering anyone. Psychopaths are intermingled throughout society in all different professions: banking, politics, business, service, and even our neighbors.
As for the criminal offender psychopath, the big question that plagues the mental health professionals as well as the criminal justice system is whether or not to treat or control these individuals. It has been estimated according to Robert D. Hare, PhD that there are at least 2 million psychopaths living in the US and New York City has as many as 100,000 living among them. The prison population is made up of approximately 20 percent psychopaths both male and female, and about 50 percent of violent crimes are committed by psychopaths.
Who is really responsible for the treatment of psychopaths?
There are so many complicated and multi-faced questions that surround this phenomenon. What’s the best avenue to address this issue? Treatment or incarceration? Or, both?
Is there an increase in psychopaths among our society today? And, what does the future bring for crime and these types of individuals?
What do you think we should do with psychopathic offenders – violent and nonviolent? I would love to hear your comments.
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting