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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222211 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Inmates' Self-Reported Childhood and Adolescent Animal Cruelty: Motivations on the Number of Convictions for Adult Violent Interpersonal Crimes
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy And Comparative Criminology  Volume:52  Issue:2  Dated:April 2008  Pages:175-184
Author(s): Christopher Hensley; Suzanne E. Tallichet
Date Published: April 2008
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined several post hoc motives (anger, fun, dislike, and imitation) of inmates who engaged in childhood and adolescent animal cruelty, and the impact of each of these motives on the number of subsequent convictions for violent crimes committed.
Abstract: Results indicate that among inmates who abused animals, almost half reported that they did so out of anger and more than one third for fun. Less than one fourth of them said they did so because they disliked the animals they abused or that they were imitating another person's actions. Those who began abusing animals at an early age and those who did so out of anger or for fun were more likely to repeat the offense. Having abused animals for fun as youths was the only motive found to be predictive of the later recurrent interpersonal violence towards humans. Committing animal abuse for fun suggests the need for thrill seeking as a perverted form of entertainment or the release of pent-up emotions on objects perceived to be weaker. Those individuals who are violent toward humans as adults actually found pleasure in abusing animals in their youth. Moreover, children who began abusing animals at an earlier age did so with greater frequency. This suggests a process whereby youthful animal abusers may become desensitized to a sentient animal’s pain and lose empathy for the suffering of other species. Identifying the motives associated with the youthful commission of animal abuse has important implications for prevention, intervention, and therapeutic strategies. Where juveniles are concerned, prevention and intervention could begin in the schools as human education that teaches responsibility, respect, and affection for animals because they are weaker beings and therefore dependent on humans. Other intervention strategies could involve counseling that helps offenders redefine their relationship with animals and which requires offenders' supervised care of animals as part of their therapeutic regime. Data were collected from 261 inmates at a department of corrections facility located in the South in May/June 2003. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescents at risk; Cruelty to animals
Index Term(s): Acting out behavior; Behavioral science research; Criminal history exchanges; Inmate attitudes; Inmate characteristics
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