Psychopathic Offenders: Current State of the Research

The Greek philosopher Theophrastus foreshadowed the modern construct of a psychopath, describing such an individual as a man without moral feeling, a characterization that has been validated and expanded upon by empirical research. The contemporary understanding of psychopathy, as greatly established by Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare, is a constellation of pathological traits and behaviors that appear on a continuum in the general population. Clinically diagnosable psychopathy is found in about 1% of the general population and 15–30% of offenders in North American correctional settings. Research indicates that the traits characterizing psychopathic individuals, including anomalous thought processes, affective processes, language, and behaviors, render them predatory, sometimes dangerous, people. Yet there is no known truly effective treatment for this condition. This analysis of one of ...

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