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NCJ Number: 51895 Find in a Library
Title: PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS OF BANK ROBBERY
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY  Volume:135  Issue:11  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:1377-1379
Author(s): D A JOHNSTON
Corporate Author: American Psychiatric Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 3
Sponsoring Agency: American Psychiatric Assoc
Arlington, VA 22209
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CASE STUDIES OF BANK ROBBERS, DRAWN FROM INTERVIEWS WITH INMATES AT A FEDERAL PENITENTIARY, ILLUSTRATE THE WAYS IN WHICH BANK ROBBERY IS A SYMPTOMATIC ACT WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL MEANING.
Abstract: CERTAIN MYTHS ABOUT BANK ROBBERS WERE BORN IN THE 1930'S, DURING THE ERA OF JOHN DILLINGER, MA BARKER, AND BONNIE AND CLYDE. MOVIES AND TELEVISION PROGRAMS HAVE PERPETUATED THESE IDEAS. INTERVIEWS WITH FEDERAL INMATES INDICATE THAT THE ACT OF COMMITTING A BANK ROBBERY OFTEN HAS VERY LITTLE, IF ANY, RELATIONSHIP TO THE THEFT OF MONEY FOR PERSONAL PROFIT. IT APPEARS THAT THE BANK CAN BECOME AN ARENA WHERE PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURES ARE EXPRESSED AS HIGHLY CONDENSED ACTION. AT TIMES THE DIRECT ACTING OUT OF A DRIVE OCCURS. IN OTHER INSTANCES, THE ROBBERY SERVES AS A DEFENSE AGAINST OTHER, MORE OVERWHELMING DRIVES. HOMOSEXUALITY AND NARCISSISTIC ISSUES OF OMNIPOTENCE AND INADEQUACY ARE PARTICULARLY PROMINENT IN BANK ROBBERY. SOMETIMES THE ROBBERY IS A DIRECT ATTEMPT TO BE KILLED OR A SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ACT OF REVENGE. IT CAN BE THE ACTING OUT OF TREMENDOUS RAGE DISPLACED FROM EARLIER EXPERIENCES OR THE GRATIFICATION OF THE WISH FOR SADISTIC EXCITEMENT. THE IMPULSIVENESS OF BANK ROBBERY IS REFLECTED IN THE FACT THAT IN 1967, OUT OF 2,200 BANK ROBBERIES, ONLY 453 WERE COMMITTED BY MEN WHO KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE INSIDE OPERATION OF THEIR TARGET. THIRTEEN CASE STUDIES ILLUSTRATING PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES FOR BANK ROBBERY DEMONSTRATE THAT BANK ROBBERY DECIDEDLY IS A PART OF INTRAPSYCHIC LIFE AND AN ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE CONFLICT. MANY BANK ROBBERS RECEIVE LONG SENTENCES FOR ACTS THAT WERE MEANT TO INJURE THEMSELVES. THESE MEN EXCHANGE 20 TO 25 YEARS OF THEIR LIVES FOR BEHAVIOR INTENDED TO RESTORE THEIR INTRAPSYCHIC EQUILIBRLIUM. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT MYTHS ABOUT BANK ROBBERY PREVENT A CAREFUL EVALUATION OF THESE OFFENDERS AND IMPAIR DECISIONS REGARDING THEIR TREATMENT AND INCARCERATION. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Behavior; Case studies; Crime Causes; Emotionally disturbed delinquents; Forensic psychology; Motivation; Offender mental health services; Offenders; Psychology; Robbery
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51895

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