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June 8, 2011

"Predators and Punishment"

The title of this post is the title of this new piece by Steven Erickson and Michael Vitacco, which is forthcoming in Psychology, Public Policy and Law and is now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Psychopathy is characterized as an emotional disorder tightly woven with persistent antisocial behavior.  Prevailing legal doctrine and social norms hold psychopaths responsible for their conduct and punishment legitimately flows to psychopaths who violate the law.  Recent scholarship, however, has challenged that view by claiming the emotional and cognitive deficits inherent in psychopathy should preclude culpability for some psychopaths. This view necessarily imposes a substantial modification on how the law conceptualizes culpability that is ultimately unwise.  Legal responsibility entails the capacity for rationality and psychopaths comport with the established meanings of rationality as understood by the law and the communal intuitions which guide it.  Extant scholarship indicates psychopaths are rationale agents and can be fairly subjected to punishment for conduct which violates the law.  The law should reject efforts to include psychopaths within its excuse jurisprudence.

June 8, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Permalink


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Punishment and its certainty and harshness are the treatment of choice for people with antisocial personality disorder. Punishment should become corporal again because it is cheap punishment that can be repeated as often as the ASPD victim needs it. Caning.

Once convicted, the prisoner should be subjected to enhanced interrogation to solve all the crime he has committed, and those of his acquaintances. Serial killers should spend their entire prison term productively, being tortured into revealing all they know.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 9, 2011 2:17:04 AM

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