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Criminal Psychology Nature, Nurture, Culture

NCJ Number
Laurence Miller
Date Published
798 pages
This book is an introduction to the foundations of criminal psychology, defined as "the application of the principles of normal and abnormal psychology to the understanding, prediction, and control of criminal behavior."
In examining the nature and origins of criminal behavior, the chapters of part I outline the role of psychology in the criminal justice system. They review the biology, psychology, and sociology of crime in order to develop a naturalistic model of criminal behavior that can guide theory and practice in law enforcement, criminal justice, and forensic evaluation. The chapters of part II examine the major classes of mental disorders that may be linked to criminal behavior, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders, organic brain syndromes, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Each chapter describes the syndrome, followed by implications for policies and practices in law enforcement, criminal justice, and forensic mental health regarding competency, sanity, and criminal culpability. Part III addresses criminal behaviors that cause victims' deaths. Chapter topics include homicide, serial murder, mass homicide, workplace and school violence, and terrorism. Part IV focuses on sexual offenses and crimes that occur within families, including rape, sexual assault, sex crimes against children, child battery, domestic violence, and family homicide. Part V discusses the psychological dynamics of a variety of common crimes, including stalking, harassment, theft, robbery, gang violence, organized crime, arson, hate crimes, victimology, the psychology of corrections, and the death penalty. Each of the book's chapters contains explanatory tables and sidebars that pertain to the chapter's main topic, along with examples from real-life cases and the media. Each chapter also identifies and discusses controversies associated with particular issues in criminal psychology, such as criminal profiling, sexual-predator laws, the management of children who commit homicide, psychotherapy for inmates, and the use of "designer defenses" in trials. Approximately 3,500-item bibliography and a subject index