Psychology behind law and crime relationship

Psychological Jurisprudence

psychology behind law and crime relationship

inclusion in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology by an authorized editor of Northwestern University School of Law . delinquent conduct, and of the inter- relation between these .. There is a moral drive behind the striving for moral infe -. A. Arrigo - Editor. SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies A critical look at the relationship between law and psychology. While the intentions behind the law-psychology field are humane, the results often are not. Criminal psychology, also referred to as criminological psychology, is the study of the wills, Profilers look for patterns in behavior to typify the individual(s) behind a . Profilers, or criminal investigative analysts, are trained and experienced law . Special pages · Permanent link · Page information · Wikidata item · Cite this.

Later, surgical treatments and the inducing of shock prevailed, while in the 20th century the discovery of psychotropic drugs served as a great breakthrough. Psychology emerged from a philosophical tradition likewise in the 19th century. Psychologists have only lately been employed to provide expert evidence in the courts. Psychologists also were instrumental in developing psychometric and other measures to predict risk of future criminal behaviors or recidivism.

A theme of this bibliography is to reflect the differences in approach between psychiatry and psychology. In doing so reference will be made to pioneers, key cases, and also the role played by institutions, notably Bedlam, the York Retreat, and Broadmoor, in the development of theory and practice.

Mohr explains how forensic psychiatry emerged as a professional activity in the United States during the latter part of the 19th century with the introduction of new theories about insanity together with the concerns of early state governments about mental health.

Prior to that, general psychiatrists catered for and were invited to court proceedings to deal with mentally disordered patients. Hollin defines forensic psychiatry as the application of psychiatric knowledge to offender populations with respect to the juxtaposition between mental disorder and criminal behavior and provides a helpful explanation of mens rea and actus reus.

One of the roles of forensic psychiatrists is to inform the court whether the accused is mentally disordered. The history of correctional psychiatry.

In Principles and practice of forensic psychiatry. This essay describes the movement in the United States from punitive treatment of inmates toward treatment and rehabilitation alternatives charting trends from biological theories, application of psychoanalytic principles and evaluation of treatments.

Pioneers in forensic psychiatry: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology 2: Simplistic notions that low intelligence causes crime and delinquency often led to disastrous results. It is important note that, but for the disapproval of the Catholic church, such sterilization laws would also have come into effect in both Ontario and Quebec. Under such laws, which remained in effect until the s, over 5, people in Canada were approved for sterilization.

The Nature-Nurture Debate Much of the early work on the link between IQ and crime has been dismissed as overly simplistic and as unsubstantiated owing to poor research designs. However, the issue of a possible association between intelligence and violence has persisted into this century. Much of the contemporary debate centres on whether intelligence is biologically based or the product of environmental conditions. Nature theory holds that intelligence is genetically determined and that low IQ directly causes violent and criminal behaviour.

Nurture theorists, on the other hand, argue that intelligence is determined by the quality of the social environment — particularly during childhood — and is not a product of genetic inheritance. Intelligence, they maintain, is largely determined by the quality of the parental bond, the level of intellectual stimulation received during early childhood, the nature of local peer-group relations, and the quality of neighbourhood schools.

Therefore, nature theorists argue that, if IQ scores are indeed lower among violent criminals, this likely reflects differences in environmental or cultural background, not differences in biological makeup Rogers et al. Nature theory also came under attack in the late s and early s when new studies determined that the IQ-crime relationship was not as strong as initially expected.

For example, Slawson found that although adolescent offenders tended to score lower on verbal intelligence tests, they had normal scores on measures of nonverbal intelligence. These results highlighted the possibility that IQ tests may be culturally biased.

Similarly, Edwin Sutherland, one of the founding fathers of modern criminology, provided evidence that observed differences in IQ scores often stemmed from problems with testing methods rather than actual differences in intelligence Sutherland, After being condemned by Sutherland as an unproductive line of inquiry, research on the IQ-crime relationship disappeared from the criminological literature for several decades.

The Re-emergence of the IQ-Violence Debate In a controversial article that appeared in the late s, Travis Hirschi and Michael Hindelang reviewed existing data on the intelligence-crime relationship and concluded that IQ is a stronger predictor of crime and violence than many other demographic characteristics are — including social class see Hirschi and Hindelang, Since the appearance of this article, a large number of other international studies have emerged that the support the existence of the IQ-violence relationship Piquero, ; Lynam et al.

Many of these studies, however, suggest that the IQ-crime relationship is quite weak. For example, an extensive review by the American Psychological Association found only a small relationship between intelligence and criminal behaviour. Wilson and Charles Murray conclude, after an extensive review of the research evidence, that there is a very strong correlation between IQ and crime and that people with low IQs are more likely to commit crimes, get caught, and be sent to prison.

Similarly, a recent study by Piquero found that low scores on intelligence tests were among the strongest predictors of violent behaviour and could be used to distinguish between violent and non-violent offenders. While some scholars maintain that there is a direct link between intelligence and criminality, others believe that there is only an indirect association.

Some argue, for example, that low intelligence leads to poor school performance. Poor school performance, in turn, directly contributes to criminal behaviour.

psychology behind law and crime relationship

Critics have responded to this position by maintaining that there are many other factors, besides intelligence, that contribute to success in school. These factors include family support for academic achievement, the quality of teachers and the school environment, the nature of the curriculum, and the degree of student engagement. The debate over the exact nature of the intelligence-crime relationship is nowhere near to being solved. Most experts agree, for example, that the measurement of IQ is extremely problematic.

Furthermore, the distinct possibility that IQ tests are both culturally biased and class-biased greatly undermines the validity of previous research. Finally, even if we accept previous research results at face value, intelligence-based explanations cannot begin to explain major patterns of criminal behaviour. IQ scores, for example, do not come close to explaining why men are much more violent than women. Similarly, people do not become more intelligent as they age.

Thus, IQ-based theories cannot account for the fact that most offenders age out of crime and violence see Seigel and McCormick, Mental Illness and Violence A recent survey of more than 6, respondents from 14 countries found that approximately ten per cent of the adult population suffers from some form of mental illness — ranging from depression to schizophrenia Seigel and McCormick, Rates of mental illness may be even higher among youth.

For example, one study found that one in five children and adolescents residing in Ontario suffer from a significant mental health disorder. The most common disorders among youth include depression, substance abuse and conduct disorder Osenblatt, Research also suggests that mental health issues may put young people at risk of engaging in violent behaviour. For example, after an extensive review of the literature, Monohan Mental disorder is a statistically significant risk factor for the occurrence of violence.

For example, one recent study documented that affective disorders are related to aggression at both home and school. This study is important because other studies have found a link between depression and both property crime and substance use, but not violence see Englander, However, the authors of this study do note that they only focused on minor forms of aggression, not serious violence Pliszka et al.

Interestingly, a number of studies have found that while minor depression is related to an increased probability of minor criminality, major bipolar depression is not at all related to serious violent behaviour. Indeed, major depression may be too crippling a disorder to permit someone to form intent and act out in a violent manner see Modestin et al.

Similarly, some experts have suggested that youth suffering from affective disorders are actually more likely to withdraw and harm themselves than to act violently towards others Hillbrand, Additional research suggests that particular types of mental illness — including schizophrenia — are more associated with violent behaviour than others are see Lescheid, For example, people who suffer from paranoid delusions that others are trying to harm them, or feel that their minds are being controlled by outside forces, are more vulnerable to periodic episodes of rage and violence than are those who do not have these symptoms Monahan, ; Berenbaun and Fujita, Studies have also found that up to 75 of juvenile murderers suffer from some form of mental illness — including psychopathy and schizophrenia Rosner, ; Sorrells, Another study followed 1, English children from birth to their 21st birthday and found that only two per cent of the sample met the DSM-III diagnostic criteria for mental illness.

However, this two per cent was responsible for 50 per cent of the violent incidents that were documented during the study period see Arsenault et al. In sum, research gives tentative support for the idea that mental disturbance or illness may be a root or underlying cause of violent behaviour. It is extremely important to note, however, that some scholars suggest that this relationship may be spurious.

In other words, the same social conditions that produce violent behaviour — including parental neglect, child abuse, violent victimization, racism, peer pressure and poverty — may also cause mental illness for discussions about the co-morbidity of violence and mental illness see Durant et al.

Criminal psychology

Studies also suggest that most people with severe mental illnesses do not engage in serious violence or criminality Cirincione et al.

It is also interesting to observe that, at the societal level, rates of violent crime have actually decreased at the same time that mentally ill populations have been de-institutionalized. A Note on Substance Abuse and Violence Substance abuse — including alcoholism — has now been formally recognized as a mental illness. Research has also established that there is a strong positive correlation between levels of substance abuse and violence.

Review of the Roots of Youth Violence: Literature Reviews

For example, a Corrections Canada survey of over 6, inmates, many of them violent offenders, found that 48 per cent admitted to using illegal drugs at the time of their offence Seigel and McCormick, Similarly, a recent US study found that over 80 per cent of people arrested for violent crimes tested positive for illegal drugs at the time of their apprehension Feutcht, It is hypothesized that alcohol and drugs can impact violence in three ways.

First of all, alcohol and drugs may have psychopharmacological effects that impair cognition and subsequently increase the likelihood of aggressive behaviour. Many have argued, for example, that the physiological impact of substance use serves to reduce social inhibitions and thus frees or enables people to act on their violent impulses. Anthropologists have shown, for example, that the social effects of alcohol vary dramatically from country to country.

In some nations, alcohol intoxication is related to violence, in others it is not. Is it possible that the effect of alcohol and drugs are socially defined?

In some societies, people may come to believe that there is a strong relationship between intoxication and violence. If so, some people may come to use alcohol and drugs as an excuse or justification for their violent behaviour.

Studies do suggest that people are more forgiving of people who engage in violent acts while intoxicated and are less forgiving of people who engage in violence while sober see review in White, A second way that substance abuse may increase violence is by increasing economic need.

Many drug addicts, for example, engage in violent crimes including robbery in order to gain enough money to support their habits. Violence is also related to competition between drug traffickers.

Indeed, any lucrative drug trade may attract ruthless individuals and gangs who are willing to resort to violence in order to control markets territories or ensure the repayment of drug debts.

Drug traffickers may also draw the attention of other predatory criminals who specifically target them for robbery because they carry large volumes of cash and drugs and cannot report their victimization to the police Wortley and Tanner, Policy Implications Over the past years, psychological perspectives on violence have had a major impact on crime control and crime prevention policy. Primary prevention programs that employ psychological principles include strategies that seek to identify and treat personal problems and disorders before they translate into criminal behaviour.

Organizations involved in such primary prevention efforts include family therapy centres, mental health associations, school counselling programs and substance abuse clinics. School administrators, teachers, social workers, youth courts and employers frequently make referrals to these programs.

Many argue that the expansion of such psychological services will ultimately reduce the level of violent crime in society Seigel and McCormick, Secondary prevention efforts, on the other hand, provide psychological treatment after a crime has been committed and the offender has become involved in the criminal justice system. Many of these programs are based on social learning principles.

Chapter 2: Psychological Theories

Judges often recommend them at the sentencing stage. Furthermore, once inmates enter a correctional facility, they are likely to be subjected to intense psychological assessment to determine their treatment needs. Attendance at such programs may also be a mandatory requirement of probation or parole. Examples of popular psychologically based rehabilitation strategies in Canada include treatment programs for substance abuse, sex offender treatment, anger management training and programs designed to improve cognitive skills Griffiths and Cunningham, Over the past few decades, considerable debate has emerged with respect to the relative effectiveness of rehabilitative efforts within corrections.

This issue is subject to a detailed discussion in another report commissioned by the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence. In sum, as with biosocial theories of crime causation, psychological theories focus on the identification and treatment of individual traits that may predispose people to violent behaviour.

As such, psychological theorists have been charged with ignoring larger social forces — including poverty, social inequality, neighbourhood disorganization and racism — that may have a strong impact on violent behaviour. Such factors, however, have been considered by a wide variety of sociological and criminological perspectives on crime.

We begin our discussion of these theories in the next section of this report. The Psychology of Criminal Conduct. Mental disorders and violence in a total birth cohort. The association of personality type in childhood with violence in adolescence. Avshalom, Caspi, Terri Moffitt, P. Are some people crime prone? Replications of the personality-crime relationship across countries, genders, races and methods.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Berenbaum, Howard and Frank Fujita. Exploring the boundaries and connections between vulnerability and outcome. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Individual differences conducive to aggression and violence: Trajectories and correlates of irritability and hostile rumination through adolescence. Robbins and John Monahan.

Mental Illness as a Factor in Criminality: A Study of Prisoners and Mental Patients. Egotism and delinquent behavior.

psychology behind law and crime relationship

Sociological and human development explanations of crime: Adolescent violent behavior and ego development. A social information processing model of social competence in children. Youth version of the Youth Psychopathic Trait Inventory: Exposure to violence and victimization, depression, substance abuse and the committal of violence in young adolescents.

Youth psychopathy and criminal recidivism: A meta-analysis of the Psychopathy Checklist measures. Assessment of juvenile psychopathy and its association with violence: Understanding Violence 3rd ed.

Drug Forecasting in National Institute of Justice. Glueck, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck.

psychology behind law and crime relationship

Efficiency and Levels of Intelligence. Griffiths, Curt and Alison Cunningham.

Criminal psychology - Wikipedia

Their Making and Unmaking. Hernstein, Richard and Charles Murray. Intelligence and Class Structure in America. Clinical predictors of self-mutilation in hospitalized patients.

Hirschi, Travis and Michael Hindelang. Profile of State Prison Inmates Bureau of Justice Statistics. Adolescent personality disorders associated with violence and criminal behavior during adolescence and early adulthood.

Stages in the Development of Moral Thought and Action. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.