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Psychopaths and Their Nature: Implications for the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems (From Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior, P 188-212, 1998, Theodore Millon, Erik Simonsen, et al, eds.--See NCJ-179236)

NCJ Number
Robert D. Hare
Date Published
25 pages
Psychopathy is discussed with respect to its assessment in different types of offenders and the use of these assessments in making decisions about competency, sentencing, diversion, placement, suitability for treatment, and risk for recidivism and violence.
Psychopathy is one of the best-validated clinical constructs in the realm of psychopathology and is arguably the single most important clinical construct in the criminal justice system. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association has defined criteria for assessing psychopathy, although DSM-IV has perhaps inadvertently established different sets of diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder for the general public and for forensic settings. However, the Hare PCL:SV is a psychopathy checklist that is useful for screening for psychopathy in forensic populations or as a stand-alone instrument for research with non-criminals. An extensive literature review indicates that current assessments of psychopathy are highly predictive of treatability, recidivism, and violence. Psychopaths with a history of violence are a poor risk for early release. More and more will be kept in prison for their full sentence, indicating the need for innovative programs aimed at making their attitudes and behaviors less self-serving and more acceptable to the society in which most eventually must function. 145 references


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