The study of the relationship between psychopathic typologies and the law has drawn a lot of interestto psychologists, law makers and law enforcers alike. This has been as a result of the sometimes conflicting findings as well as the deep connection that has been found between psychopathic behavior and offender behavior. However, there has been some consensus with regards to how these two variables relate.
With regards to the classification of psychopaths as legally insane in the eyes of the law, the criminal system treats cases on an individual basis.Whilein legal proceedings in the criminal justice system psychopathic typologies cannot be used as defense against crimes, there are exceptions where it has been used as a defense.In most cases it is not recognized, as psychopaths are considered responsible for their action and therefore culpable. In the eyes of mental health practitioners, the mental condition of a psychopath is not determined by a one point or episodic analysis of an individual’s behavior as is the case with the law. Rather, it is a continuous analysis of the individual mental condition examining behavioral patterns that lean towards psychopathic tendencies and based on this analysis they can classify an individual as either legally insane or not. Based on this, the classification of an offender as insane differs in definition between the criminal justice system and the health profession. With reference to the effectiveness of the threat of legal punishment to deter criminal behavior, psychopaths have been found not to be deterred by such threats. They neither learn from their mistakes nor get deterred by punishment.However, various studies find that psychopathic tendencies decline once an offender reaches the age of 35 to 40, and therefore they advise that psychopaths should be incarcerated till this age then they are released, as this will reduce their rate of recidivism.
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