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Criminal Behaviour - Essay Example
A personality disorder is characterized by a history of continuous and chronic antisocial behaviour that is not attributable to severe mental retardation, schizophrenia, or manic episodes, and is also called antisocial personality. This is a synonym for antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), a category listed in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and is applicable to the majority of criminals…
[The Mental Health Act 1983, 2000]
For example, most jurisdictions consider psychopathy to be an aggravating rather than a mitigating factor in determining criminal responsibility. In some states an offender convicted of first-degree murder and diagnosed as a psychopath is likely to receive the death penalty on the grounds that psychopaths are cold-blooded, remorseless, untreatable and almost certain to re-offend. But many of the killers on death row were, and continue to be, mistakenly referred to as psychopaths on the basis of DSM-III, DSM-III-R or DSM-IV criteria for ASPD. ASPD and psychopathy might now be more or less synonymous constructs. [Hare, 1999]
Psychopaths generally are more violent than non-psychopaths, and are more likely to engage in a variety of different types of aggressive acts, but tend to engage in predominantly instrumental (calculated) violence, threaten strangers with weapons and to be motivated by vengeance, retribution, or money. [Hart S.D., Forth A.E., Hare R.D.; 1994]
The psychopaths' profile includes such individual characteristics as sense of entitlement, disparate understanding of behaviour and socially acceptable behaviour; they are unremorseful, apath ...