THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOPATH: HISTORY, NEUROSCIENCE, TREATMENT, AND ECONOMICS

Jurimetrics. Summer 2011;51:355-397.

Abstract

The manuscript surveys the history of psychopathic personality, from its origins in psychiatric folklore to its modern assessment in the forensic arena. Individuals with psychopathic personality, or psychopaths, have a disproportionate impact on the criminal justice system. Psychopaths are twenty to twenty-five times more likely than non-psychopaths to be in prison, four to eight times more likely to violently recidivate compared to non-psychopaths, and are resistant to most forms of treatment. This article presents the most current clinical efforts and neuroscience research in the field of psychopathy. Given psychopathy's enormous impact on society in general and on the criminal justice system in particular, there are significant benefits to increasing awareness of the condition. This review also highlights a recent, compelling and cost-effective treatment program that has shown a significant reduction in violent recidivism in youth on a putative trajectory to psychopathic personality.