November 22, 2005

The mindset of heinous criminals

Follow-up to Rape: do we deserve it?! from Musings of a blonde

As a follow up to comment 11 of the above entry, which when something like this:
"If you believe that heinous criminals (of the sort that would receive the death penalty) are fundamentally evil/psychologically disturbed, you might agree with execution as you wouldn't think they were capable of repenting. However, if you believe that these people can be rehabilitated and can, indeed, realise that what they did was deeply wrong is there not a large argument for keeping things how they are?"

I find it conceptually difficult to think that a serial killer, for example, might realise the true horror of their crimes, as any 'normal' (term used very loosely) member of society understands them, and repent of them. If they truly accept what they've done in terms of the generally accepted morality would they not be utterly disgusted with themselves. Is this an argument to support the idea that serious criminals are indeed fundamentally disturbed?

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. What about the XXY (or is it XYY? I forget) thing?

    22 Nov 2005, 19:03

  2. I'm no psychologist, but isn't it the case that people with psychopathic tendancies just don't see right or wrong in the same way as the rest of us? Or maybe I just took the book 'American Psycho' too seriously…

    23 Nov 2005, 10:49

  3. Anna – The XXY/XXX chromosomal abnormalities are misleading.
    Initial studies into sex chromosome abnormalities (SCA) were carried out in america, in mental hospitals and prisons as it was cheap and quick to do the cell sampling. It appeared that there was a greater incidence of SCAs in the prisons and mental hospitals. In reality, SCAs are found just as frequently in the rest of the population and have very few differences compared to the standard XY or XX population. These differences verge slightly towards a lower IQ, and decreased ability to cope with social/emotional situations, but do not go as far as psychotic or violent behaviour.

    25 Nov 2005, 09:45

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