- Published: November 7, 2012
Psychopathy is a big riddle for the legal system. These criminals understand the crime they commit, but they do not have a moral response to their actions. Currently, declaring psychopathy does no help to the defendant. In fact, because of the high recidivism and incurability of psychopathy, punishment is stronger in light of psychopathy. Is this fair though? Is psychopathy not a biological condition that is no different than psychotics who have the option of an insanity plea?
Essentially, psychopaths are strictly punishment for crimes because there’s nothing we can do to help them. In fact, because of the lack of options, many professionals once advocated for more death penalties for psychotic patients on the basis that their amorality makes them no longer worthy of life.
I believe this is direction is wrong because it is based on the ineffectiveness of current science in treatment rather than the actual crimes of the psychopaths. We should devote effort maybe not into elimination psychopathy, but reducing its effects to create a functioning human being. As are all illnesses, psychopathy exists in a spectrum. Interestingly, many people with small signs of psychopathy actually can be very successful in life, maybe because they aren’t held back by a small lie here or there. If we can environmentally influence criminal psychopaths to less severe level, we would have a more fair system, where life or death in trial is not determined by a mental disorder.
Psychopathy – Psychopathy and the Criminal Law. Law Library – American Law and Legal Information. http://law.jrank.org/pages/1885/Psychopathy-Psychopathy-criminal-law.html">Psychopathy - Psychopathy And The Criminal Law
Richard Weisman (2007), Remorse and Psychopathy at the Penalty Phase of the Capital Trial – How Psychiatry's View of “Moral Insanity” Helps Build the Case for Death, in Austin Sarat (ed.) Special Issue Law and Society Reconsidered (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Volume 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.187-217