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Treatment Of Psychopathic Offenders And Criminal Activity Reduction

The paper is an analytical study which revolves around Psychopathic offenders, Psychopathic offenders are notoriously difficult to treat, as they are generally resistant to change and are at a high risk of programme failure and tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend.

The paper deals with the most often question asked by criminal investigators - "whether a psychopath is criminally accountable?", "Whether a psychopath can claim to be mentally ill in order to avoid following the standard method?" Further it deals with the evidences, difficulties, and debates in psychopathic offender therapy.

The paper also deals with the Insanity Defense in various forms and how Psychopaths are criminally liable notwithstanding their lack of moral culpability. For better understanding of the concept the paper also mentions about the Recent Cases related to psychopath offenders and also discusses about Management of Psychopathic Offenders and Different Versions of Insanity Defense.

There has long been a discussion concerning whether or not individuals may be evil.

They certainly can: if they commit violent crimes! They are divided into three non-evil groups.
  1. Sick, deranged, or mentally ill - not "bad"
  2. Neglect and abuse victims (physical or sexual)
  3. Convinced that their negative act isn't actually bad, but rather beneficial.[1]
The individual, who respond to criminal behavior not because they lack suitable instructions but, because they like it. They are careless about the damage they cause to others. Those who oppose the concept of evil agency claim that psychopaths are victims of neurological abnormalities, external causes, or erroneous views.[2]

The fight between good and evil, on the other hand, has become a rudimentary feature in criminal law. On the one hand, many judges, lawyers, legislators, and academics see psychopaths as evil since they commit crimes frequently, show no remorse for their victims, are thought to be incurable, and are thus prone to repeating similar or bigger crimes.

Psychopaths are frequently treated as aggravating factors in criminal law, warranting harsher penalty. On the other hand, there is a compelling argument that psychopaths constitute a mitigating, if not exculpatory, element. They are usually doomed to a life of emotional deprivation, a life devoid of stimulating human relationships, and occupational failure.

Moral and criminal conundrum of judging psychopaths[3]

There are two possible assumptions: criminal punishment necessitates moral responsibility directly, or criminal punishment necessitates criminal responsibility, which necessitates moral responsibility.

The reason that just criminal punishment does not necessitate moral responsibility is that criminal law is intended to be used as a last resort against individuals who are not sufficiently motivated by morality and respect for the law to obey it.

Difference Between Psychopathy and Anti-Social Personality Disorder? (ASPD)[4]

In the past, there was no way to tell the difference between psychopathy and ASPD. These names are still used interchangeably today. However, ASPD and psychopathy are not the same in two respects. To begin with, ASPD does not need a lack of empathy. Second, although the ASPD diagnostic criteria are mostly behavioral in nature, the psychopathy diagnostic criteria are both behavioral and psychological in [5]nature.

Overview of Psychopathy:

As indicated by its prominence in myth and literature throughout history, psychopathy has always been a part of human civilization. Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig dubbed them "emptied souls." One of Aristotle's pupils, Theophrastus, may have been the first to mention them, referring to them as "the unscrupulous." These are the people who lack the common links that bind us all together, as well as the constraints that those bonds impose. They are people who lack empathy and compassion, to put it frankly.

Psychopaths have also been discovered in pre-industrial civilizations, showing that they are not a modern-day cultural invention, but have existed from our species' inception.

There are two categories of psychopathy

Psychopathy appears as a symptom of underlying problems that may be traced back to their basic reasons when psychological motivation is easy to discern. When the causes of the ailment are recognized and eliminated, as many have been, the illness has a strong chance of being healed.

This is secondary psychopathy, or symptomatic psychopathy.
On the other hand, no matter how hard or in-depth one studies a psychopath's case, it is very impossible to identify any specific psychogenesis for his behaviour. Because of who he has always been and what he has always done, he is who he is and does what he does. His emotions are so deeply ingrained in him that they appear to have been present since birth. This is the most basic form of idiopathic psychopathy[6].

Psychopathy is measured using the following criteria:

Motivation vs. behavior.
Psychopathy has been defined as a huge group of people who share only one trait, namely antisocial behavior, which can be further divided into types based on motive. The entire subject may be addressed with easily if we divide psychopathy into two groups, primary and secondary. If a person is determined to be of secondary kinds, there is a good chance that they can be treated. All that is required is the discovery of the underlying motivation.

The cause may not be as deep in some cases, but it may be so deeply embedded in others that it is difficult to get to and requires treatment. The inability to distinguish between pure or essential psychopathy and secondary psychopathy, as opposed to and distinct from the secondary variety, has resulted in a clinical therapeutic stalemate.[7]

Giving the idiopathic kind of psychopathy a restricted term of several years can only mean one thing: after the sentence expires, he will be completely unaffected by the experience, and will happily go about his business, only to run afoul of the law once more. Treating the symptomatic type in the same way as the idiopathic type, on the other hand, will inevitably result in failure, as punishment will only worsen the issue.

Abnormal Sexuality and Psychopathy
Psychopaths, on the one hand, and homosexuals and sex perverts, on the other, have nothing in common. Because homosexuality, like the rest of descriptive psychiatry, is seen as antisocial behaviour, they are frequently lumped together. Many psychopaths are unable to adjust to regular sexual situations. Simply said, psychopaths do not make good sex adjustments, but not all people who do make poor sex adjustments are psychopaths[8].

However, one note must be made in relation to psychopaths' love relationships, or any interpersonal relationships between them and the other sex. [9]They appear to be completely incapable of feeling connected or empathic. They do not appreciate what is done to them, and they are unlikely to repay what has been done for them with gratitude. They are the polar opposite of neurotics in this regard, and they are essentially alone among humans.

Insanity As A Defence:
The Insanity Defense is based on the following assumptions: T[10]he insanity defence is intended to protect those who are legally mad from being prosecuted.

The insanity defence is based on three assumptions:
  1. Insane people are not morally accountable for their conduct.
  2. Criminal accountability is predicated on moral responsibility.
    Most academics and participants in the criminal justice system subscribe to this paradigm for two reasons. For starters, moral responsibility is regarded to be required for criminal responsibility, as the latter is a subset of the former, namely moral responsibility for a specific criminal conduct. Second, assume that person is not morally liable for the act in question. [11]Under any case, punishing that person becomes unjust.
  3. For just criminal punishment, criminal responsibility is required. Criminal responsibility is required for criminal punishment for two reasons: justice and deterrent. Punishing someone who isn't criminally accountable for their crimes would be unjust and ineffective in deterring recidivists and others in similar situations from repeating the same or similar actions.[12]
Insanity Defense in various forms
The M'Naghten Rule, issued by a British Court in 1843, was the earliest iteration of the insanity defence. According to the rule, a person is legally insane and thus not guilty of the offence for which he is charged if he was "labouring under such a loss of reason" at the time of the crime. He suffered from a mental illness that caused him to be unaware of the kind and quality of the act he was performing, or if he was aware of it, he was unaware of the repercussions.

So, according to the M'Naghten Rule, a person is considered insane and not criminally responsible if he had a mental disorder at the time of the alleged crime, and his mental disorder caused him to suffer from severe ignorance, which took one of two forms: ignorance of what he was doing or ignorance of the fact that what he was doing was wrong. This type of insanity defence is used in a lot of places. Many others refer to the 'irresistible impulse' defence as an insanity defence. As a result, defendants are considered legally ill and so not criminally accountable or punishable for their criminal behaviour.

In its Model Penal Code of 1962, the American Law Institute presented an alternative kind of insanity defence (MPC). 'A person is not accountable for criminal activity if he lacks substantial capacity either to perceive the criminality of his conduct or to conform his action to the requirements of law at the time of such conduct due to a mental disorder or defect.' The MPC rule differs from the M'Naghten rule in three ways.[13]

It transforms a lack of' substantial capacity to appreciate' into an inability to know. The latter term implies that a broader variety of persons could be considered mad, including not just those who can't know but also those who have great trouble knowing, as well as those who are doing anything other than knowing.

It separates the object of one's inability from the nature of one's conduct. While the M'Naghten rule says that people are mad if they are unable to understand the nature or wrongfulness of their actions, the MPC suggests that people are insane if they are unable to recognise "the illegality of their actions."

It has a mellowed out form of irresistible urge. While the irresistible desire necessitates a complete absence of control over one's behaviour, the MPC definition of volitional insanity just necessitates a "lack of considerable competence to conform one's behaviour to the standards of law."

The third type of insanity defence is the 'Durham' rule, often known as the 'Product' rule. New Hampshire is the only state that has remained a subscriber. As established in the Durham case, an accused is not criminally liable if his unlawful behaviour was caused by a mental illness or defect.

This version of the insanity defence is commonly ignored because it violates the widely accepted assumption that mental illness is compatible with moral responsibility and, as a result, criminal liability. The Durham rule states that a person suffering from mental illness is not morally accountable for his or her actions as a result of the disease. We generally reject this proposition since mental illness and moral responsibility are both considered continuum ideas.

Four Reasons Psychopaths Are Mentally Ill
People argue that substantial comprehension of the moral wrongfulness of one's act is not required for criminal accountability for two reasons. To begin with, not all criminal law offences are morally reprehensible. Offenses of malum prohibitum, rather than malum in se, legislation are arguably no more morally reprehensible than traffic violations.

Second, understanding the moral importance of the criminal law is not required. An natural incapacity to empathise with the victim, an inability to perceive the victim's predicament from the victim's own perspective, is the underlying cause of psychopaths' moral blindness. They just cannot comprehend what we mean when we stress that this harsh treatment is simply wrong since they lack a conscience to make them feel terrible about treating others badly.[14]

The universally applicable arguments simply suggest that no one "in their right mind" would conduct what psychopaths do. Many torturers and killers are not mad. People who torture and kill because they have been brainwashed, trained, terrorised, or abused � these agents have lost only their compassion, not their sanity. People who can lose compassion for others while still understanding the nature of their actions, their moral and legal status, and their control.

People who lack compassion for others, on the other hand, cannot be called to have compassion. A person like this can't tell the difference between reality and fiction. This debate has been couched in terms of logic by some researchers. As a result, psychopaths are illogical in their core. Because inherent irrationality leads to insanity, psychopaths who lack the bare minimum of moral competence are also mad.

Psychopathy is a 'disease of the mind' or a 'fault of reason.' Given that psychopathy tends to rob a person of crucial qualities, such as the ability to care for others and the ability to regulate one's impulses, Most courts still refuse to acknowledge that psychopaths are insane.

Defendants are legally insane and hence not criminally accountable or punishable for their otherwise unlawful conduct if a mental defect or disorder made it impossible for them to regulate their actions, as determined by the M'Naghten test.

Mens Rea, Psychopathy, and Insanity Defense[15]
Psychoapths, in the majority of cases, are not helped by the insanity defence. The relationship between mens rea and will is not distorted by psychopathy. As a result, there is no need to change this link, and thus no need for an insanity defence to do so. If the defendant's callousness indicates ill intent, using an insanity defence to account for that callousness would provide no essential adjustment for determining ill will from mens rea. Instead, it would eliminate the penalties that should result from a wicked intent.

Psychopaths are not allowed to claim insanity under the usual norm. This criterion fits nicely with the defense's understanding of the defense as an adjustment to avoid evaluating mens rea by misjudging the will. The psychopath's mental disorder most likely influences his morals rather than his perception of reality. If this is the case, his mens rea accurately indicates an immoral will, and hence no correction is required.

Recent Cases:
Somnath Parida[16], a 71-year-old former army doctor from Bhubaneswar, is accused of murdering his wife, chopping her body into 300 pieces, and dumping them in chemicals for a length of time. At his home, they discovered the body parts in 22 steel containers in two crates, as well as sharp-edged weapons and surgical instruments used in the body's cutting. Despite the fact that sources claim he was not a hothead, no one believes he could commit such a thing. The case is still in the court system.

Serial Murders in Noida[17]:
The Nithari Kand in Noida, which took place in the home of a businessman Mohinder Singh Pandher in India in 2005 and 2006, was filmed in the residence of a businessman Mohinder Singh Pandher. Surender Kohli, a servant, has been sentenced to death.

There have been numerous incidents where psychopaths have been sentenced to death and have been labelled as serial killers.

Psychopaths Confused With Other Sexual Crimes
It should be emphasized that rape, incest, serial murders, and other sexually violent crimes are frequently confused with psychopathy. They also have a lot of differences amongst them. They cannot be evaluated similarly for trials and rulings. Each of the crimes described has a unique and individual mens rea. For crimes committed by psychopaths due to their illness, there is absolutely no motive.

Serial killers can be psychopaths, but not all serial killers are psychopaths. Technically speaking, they are distinct from one another. Even medical professionals can become perplexed by the disease since some of the patterns of death are so similar. It is mixed up with other mentally ill individuals, criminals, serial murders, and offenders who engage in incest. In reality, the former could have occurred for a variety of reasons, including obsession, retaliation, pleasure, fun, lust, and psychopathy.

Cases like incest, rape, child molestation, sodomy, and serial killing are frequently confused with psychopathy. It is crucial to conduct an investigation in order to address the ambiguity surrounding psychopathic behaviour. This will aid in making a distinction between psychopathy and other types of crime, such as violent and sexual crimes. The cause of crime in the former case is not due to disease, whereas it is in the latter case.[18]

There is no ambiguity in the vocabulary used to describe sexual criminals, violent criminals, rapists, incest cases, serial killers, sociopaths, and psychopaths in the United Kingdom and the United States; a distinct line has been made between each of these classifications. As a result, the treatment and penalties are based on the illness. In India's criminal justice system, this is a crucial and urgent issue. Changes must be made to the system in order to treat and judge psychopaths and all other mentally ill criminals in accordance with their illness rather than the crime they have committed[19].

Psychopaths' Place in the Moral World [20]
Even if psychopathy provides grounds for lessened accountability or complete excuse, psychopaths nonetheless constitute a significant threat to the wellbeing of others, which is one of society's major problems. As a result, reducing the period of time a psychopath is removed from society is frequently regarded as a highly undesirable situation. The question then arises whether society can justify institutionalizing or otherwise isolating psychopaths from the broader population.

The topic of how to deal with the consequences of releasing psychopaths into society might be viewed as a distributive justice issue. There is a discernible advantage to the psychopath and a burden to society in his release, and there is a discernible benefit to the psychopath and a burden to society in his detention. As a result, the option to release the psychopath can be weighed against the distribution of advantages and burdens. This approach appears to lead to the problem being treated as a utilitarian issue.

If given the same instructions on which to formulate moral responsibilities as an ordinary moral agent, psychopathy presents a type of agent who is unlikely to reach the same conclusions as an ordinary moral agent. The problem is twofold: impaired social learning appears to prevent psychopaths from relying on moral authorities in order to engage in appropriate behaviour, and the specific impairments that psychopathy presents appear to undermine the philosophical credibility of treating such people as ordinary moral agents.[21]

Any attempt to use psychopathy as a mitigating factor of guilt and punishment for wrongdoing needs to achieve a balance between upholding human agency, holding people accountable for their actions, and safeguarding the public. There are so many laws which help and give equal protection to the persons with mental disabilities.

In the case of psychopathy, this provides a unique difficulty because it might raise the likelihood of societal harm and self-injury. However, the essence of psychopathy appears to involve a kind of agency that differs significantly from that of a typically functioning adult, making it difficult to establish a decision that stated transgression bears full punishment and culpability.

  1. Ken Levy, Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject to Criminal Punishment and to Preventive Detention, (9th NOVEMBER, 2022, 6:44PM).
  2. ScienceDirect, Mark E. Olver, Psychopathy and Criminal Behavior, 22 - Treatment of psychopathic offenders: A review of research, past, and current practice, 25th November 2022, 6:00PM,
  3. National Library Of Medicine, N. F. Link, S. E. Scherer, P. N. Byrne, Moral judgment and moral conduct in the psychopath, (07th December 2022, 6:30PM),
  4. Seth Meyers Psy.D., Psychology Today, Difference Between the Psychopath and So-Called Sociopath, (28th November 2022, 7:30PM),
  5. By Paul Babiak, M.S., Ph.D.; Jorge Folino, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeffrey Hancock, Ph.D.; Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.; Matthew Logan, Ph.D., M.Ed.; Elizabeth Leon Mayer, Ph.D.; J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.; Helin� H�kk�nen-Nyholm, Ph.D.; Mary Ellen O'Toole, Ph.D.; Anthony Pinizzotto, Ph.D.; Stephen Porter, Ph.D.; Sharon Smith, Ph.D.; and Michael Woodworth, Ph.D., Psychopathy - An Important Forensic Concept for the 21st Century, (25TH November 2022, 7:00PM),
  6. Sarah Coyne and David A. Nelson, Mean on the screen: Psychopathy, relationship aggression, and aggression in the media, ResearchGate, (9th NOVEMBER, 2022, 6:30PM),
  7. Magaonkar Revati, I Pleader, How to deal with a psychopathic offender � legal provisions in India and other countries, 10th November, 2022, 6:00PM,
  8. Nanyang Technological University June 1, 2022, Scientists Have Established a Key Biological Difference Between Psychopaths and Normal People, (02TH December, 2022, 6:23PM),
  9. Case studies in the Psychopathology of crime, Vol II, Case 8, "Rape", Medical Science Press, 1944, (8TH NOVEMBER, 2022, 7:00PM).
  10. Khushi Agrawal, IPleader, Insanity as a defense under the Indian Penal Code, (28th November 2022, 4:00PM),
  11. Purdue University, Rethinking Rational by John Matthew, (9th NOVEMBER 2022, 8:30 PM).
  12. Falakdipti, Legal Service India, Psychopathic Criminals: Punishment or Therapy?, (25TTH November 2022, 8:00pm),
  13. History of Forensic Psychology, (25TH December, 2022, 6:30 PM),
  14. National Library of Medicine, Kent A. Kiehl and Morris B. Hoffman, THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOPATH: HISTORY, NEUROSCIENCE, TREATMENT, AND ECONOMICS, (23rd November 2022, 6:00PM),
  15. Stabbing in the dark: English Law relating to Psychopathy, Peter Bartlett, pp25-28., (7TH NOVEMBER 2022, 6:45PM).
  16. Somnath Sahu versus State of Orissa, O.J.C. 205 of 1963
  17. Surendra Koli vs State Of U.P. Ors on 15 February, 2011
  18. Mark E. Olver, Treatment of psychopathic offenders: Evidence, issues, and controversies, 23rd November, 2022, 6:20PM,
  19. INSIDERS, The real differences between psychopaths and sociopaths and why you can't be officially diagnosed as either, (9TH December, 2022, 5:00AM),
  20. Daniel Jeffries, The Secret World of Psychopaths: Why Psychopaths Have Always Ruled the World and Always Will, (25TH November, 2022, 6:25PM),
  21. UnderCurrent, philosophical perspective on topic of interest, Psychopaths and Morality: Where do they fit?, (27th November, 2022, 6:00PM),

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Sumiran Srivastava
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