Skip navigation
Skip navigation

Mental Impairment, Moral Understanding and Criminal Responsibility: Psychopathy and the Purposes of Punishment

Fine, Cordelia; Kennett, Jeanette

Description

We have argued here that to attribute criminal responsibility to psychopathic individuals is to ignore substantial and growing evidence that psychopathic individuals are significantly impaired in moral understanding. They do not appear to know why moral transgressions are wrong in the full sense required by the law. As morally blameless offenders, punishment as a basis for detention cannot be justified. Moreover, as there are currently no successful treatment programs for psychopathy, nor can...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFine, Cordelia
dc.contributor.authorKennett, Jeanette
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:39:58Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:39:58Z
dc.identifier.issn0160-2527
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/78023
dc.description.abstractWe have argued here that to attribute criminal responsibility to psychopathic individuals is to ignore substantial and growing evidence that psychopathic individuals are significantly impaired in moral understanding. They do not appear to know why moral transgressions are wrong in the full sense required by the law. As morally blameless offenders, punishment as a basis for detention cannot be justified. Moreover, as there are currently no successful treatment programs for psychopathy, nor can detention be justified on grounds of treatment. Instead, we argue detention on the grounds of self-defence, due to the severe and continuing threat posed by the psychopathic criminal. Acknowledging that the psychopathic offender is not criminally responsible would clearly have significant implications for their treatment in the judicial system. Moreover, explicit acknowledgment that psychopathic offenders are selectively but significantly mentally impaired might act as a motivation for the development of much-needed, targeted, treatment and management programs. We do not deny that psychopathic offenders are dangerous and 'calculating predators' (Hare, 1998a, p. 205). However, to ignore the substantial evidence that psychopathic offenders are not criminally responsible is itself a dangerous threat to criminal justice.
dc.publisherPergamon Press
dc.sourceInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
dc.subjectKeywords: affect; criminal behavior; empathy; forensic psychiatry; human; human rights; law; law enforcement; law suit; mental disease; mental health; mood disorder; morality; psychopathy; punishment; review; task performance; Antisocial Personality Disorder; Austr
dc.titleMental Impairment, Moral Understanding and Criminal Responsibility: Psychopathy and the Purposes of Punishment
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume27
dc.date.issued2004
local.identifier.absfor220311 - Philosophical Psychology (incl. Moral Psychology and Philosophy of Action)
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub6720
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationFine, Cordelia, Monash University
local.contributor.affiliationKennett, Jeanette, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage425
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage443
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.ijlp.2004.06.005
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:53:14Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-4444315069
CollectionsANU Research Publications

Download

There are no files associated with this item.


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator