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November 19, 2015

"Cosmetic Psychopharmacology for Prisoners: Reducing Crime and Recidivism Through Cognitive Intervention"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting-sounding paper available via SSRN authored by Adam Shniderman and Lauren Solberg. Here is the abstract:

Criminologists have long acknowledged the link between a number of cognitive deficits, including low intelligence and impulsivity, and crime.  A new wave of research has demonstrated that pharmacological intervention can restore or improve cognitive function, particularly executive function (including the inhibition of impulsive response), and restore neural plasticity. Such restoration and improvement can allow for easier acquisition of new skills and as a result, presents significant possibilities for the criminal justice system.

For example, studies have shown that supplements of Omega-3, a fatty acid commonly found in food such as tuna, can decrease frequency of violent incidents in an incarcerated population.  Research has also begun to explore the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to reduce impulsivity in some violent offenders.  However, there are significant legal and ethical implications when moving from dietary supplements to prescription pharmaceuticals and medical devices for cognitive intervention.  This paper will explore the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of pharmacological intervention on prisoners as an effort to reduce crime and recidivism.

November 19, 2015 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


Weird. The evidence for Omega-3 isn't huge, especially for adults who have mature brains. And, if it helps, it helps in small amounts and has never been a cure for mental retardation which afflicts many prisoners. The normal treatment for impulsivity with be a general nervous system stimulant like amphetamine salts, not an SSRI which is more often used as an anti-depressant.

Allowing inmates with mental health problems to be treated with accepted drugs and supplements makes good sense. But, neither of these proposals are widely accepted remedies for the claimed conditions.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Nov 19, 2015 3:03:13 PM

Abilify is the best anti-anger and aggression medication in history, in a category of its own. It addresses, not just emotional anger, but pure evil. Nothing has ever done that before.

One of the most robust models in all of biology, with 1000's of studies validating the difference, is that between instrumental aggression and emotional aggression. One may learn the features of each by picturing a cat stalking a mouse (instrumental aggression), or a cat cornered by a bulldog (emotional aggression). So with those two pictures in mind, you can answer questions about the mood of the cat, its heart rate, its motivations, its intent, whether it is quiet or loud, its stress hormone levels. You can also decide the remedies. So give one medication, and punish the other one. Punish emotional aggression, make it worse. Medicate instrumental aggression, make it not care about punishment anymore. So this is not academic quibbling, the remedies and their outcomes are totally different based on the correct assessment of the type of aggression. One can medicate instrumental aggression, but only by total sedation and the elimination of all behavior.

Abilify is the first medication in human history to address evil, instrumental aggression without sedation or reducing all behavior. Abilify also comes in a depot shot, that one gives once a month.

So, if you want a peaceful prison, everyone takes Abilify, including the staff that stops over-reacting to minor sassing and offensive conduct.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 19, 2015 8:01:25 PM

Abilify should be added to the list of factors contributing to a lower crime rate. Over 8 million prescriptions are written a month. Likely, a minimum of 1 million is written to young people with aggression problems, thus preventing millions of crimes a year. Naturally, left wing ideologues oppose that use, such as the FDA, and the NY Times. They want hiring of more members of the Democratic Party for government make work jobs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 21, 2015 2:06:22 AM

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