We would, it seems, be justified in imprisoning or institutionalizing them for such an act to prevent them from harming others. But the other justifications for punishment – retribution, rehabilitation, and deterrence – seem not to apply very well. By definition, a prison sentence couldn’t deter an individual from doing something he can’t stop himself from doing and rehabilitation could not change an immutable characteristic. Retribution would be even more problematically incoherent. We believe that a man must be able to do what he ought to do; we could not condemn a man for doing something that we believe he cannot choose not to do.
So there’s an article about using neuroscientific evidence to mitigate sentencing of criminals who are diagnosed as psychopaths, by a law professor, specializing in criminal law who has a LLM from Columbia. Great. So, I was going to toss a link and note the usual discrepancies I found within the paper. But swear to god, I feel like law reviews rarely make the distinction between clinical psychopaths and those having psychopathic traits, which leaves a lot of room to argue whatever point they are making. The current research is such that it’s imperative to make these clarifications, especially when talking about criminal offenders since the majority of psychopaths aren’t violent nor criminal. I’m just gonna keep truckin with my spectrum theory, thanks.
One of [Roberta’s] most appealing qualities is, perhaps, her friendly impulse to help others … .She often went to sit with an ill neighbor, watched the baby of her mother’s friend, and rather patiently helped her younger sister with her studies. In none of these things was she consistent. She often promised her services and, with no explanation, failed to appear … .She would stop to pet a puppy, take crumbs out to the birds, and comfort a stray cat. Yet, when her own dog was killed by an automobile, she showed only the most fleeting and superficial signs of concern.
Psychopathy in Women, in Handbook of Psychopathy [via]
One of these things is not like the other, in that only one is real.