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NCJ Number: 66764 Find in a Library
Title: FUTURE OF PSYCHIATRIC CRIMINOLOGY (FROM BIOLOGY AND CRIME, P 139-158, 1979, BY C R JEFFERY - SEE NCJ-71010)
Author(s): S HALLECK
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 20
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PSYCHIATRY'S FUTURE ROLE IN CRIMINOLOGY WILL REVOLVE AROUND ITS FUNCTIONS IN OFFENDER DISPOSITION, EXPLAINING CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, AND TREATING OFFENDERS DEFINED AS PATIENTS.
Abstract: THE SOCIAL USEFULNESS OF PSYCHIATRIC INVOLVEMENT IN LEGAL DECISIONS INVOLVING THE CRIMINAL HAS BEEN THOROUGHLY QUESTIONED, AS HAS THE THEORETICAL BASIS FOR PSYCHIATRIC INVOLVEMENT IN INSANITY AND COMPETENCY TO STAND TRIAL RULINGS. RESPONSIBILITY (CRIMINAL OR OTHERWISE) IS BEST CONSIDERED AN ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT OR MYTH IMPOSED ON PEOPLE TO INFLUENCE OR DETERMINE THEIR BEHAVIOR IN A DESIRABLE DIRECTION. HOWEVER, ALTHOUGH SOCIETY MUST DEVISE MORAL CODES FOR DETERMINING WHO SHOULD BE PUNISHED AND WHO SHOULD NOT, SOCIETY CANNOT DEVELOP A SCIENTIFIC SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING WHO IS RESPONSIBLE AND WHO IS NOT. THUS WHEN PSYCHIATRISTS TESTIFY AT INSANITY TRIALS, THEY ARE EXPRESSING MORAL, NOT SCIENTIFIC, OPINIONS. NEVERTHELESS, THE FUTURE OF PSYCHIATRY'S THEORETICAL OR EDUCATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS SEEMS BRIGHTER. AN ENLIGHTENED CRIMINOLOGY WILL CONTINUE TO WANT MORE DATA ON PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL VARIABLES WHICH INFLUENCE RISK-BENEFIT ASSESSMENT. AS LONG AS PSYCHIATRISTS SEEK REASONABLE GOALS, AND ARE MODEST ABOUT THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS WILL INFLUENCE CRIMINOLOGY, THERE IS ROOM FOR RESEARCH IN DEFINING THE INFLUENCE OF PSYCHOBIOLOGICAL VARIABLES IN CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. PSYCHIATRIC INVOLVEMENT IN TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION HAS BEEN CHARACTERIZED BY ETHICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL CONTROVERSY. CURRENTLY, PSYCHIATRISTS ARE AIMING FOR SIMPLY HELPING THE OFFENDER, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER SUCH EFFORTS REHABILITATE THE OFFENDER. WITH THIS APPROACH, MORE OFFENDERS MAY VOLUNTEER FOR PSYCHIATRIC ATTENTION INDEPENDENTLY OF THE QUESTION OF THEIR REFORMATION. PSYCHIATRISTS THEN WOULD BE ABLE TO CONTRACT TO TREAT PRISONERS PRIVATELY JUST AS THEY TREAT OTHER PATIENTS AND THUS AVOID THE JEOPARDIZING FUNCTION OF BEING A CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM MEMBERS. FURTHERMORE, OFFENDERS' RIGHT TO TREATMENT WOULD BE ENSURED. FINALLY, PSYCHIATRISTS CAN ALSO ASSIST CRIMINOLOGISTS BY ACTIVELY PREVENTING CRIME THROUGH TREATING CHILDREN'S LEARNING DISORDERS AND ASSISTING IN CREATION OF A RELATIVELY WHOLESOME ENVIRONMENTS FOR ALL PERSONS. THIRTY-TWO REFERENCES ARE SUPPLIED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Psychiatric services; Psychiatry
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