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NCJ Number: 68832 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: EPISODIC DYSCONTROL SYNDROME AND CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
Author(s): R A RATNER; D SHAPIRO
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY EXAMINES THE MOUNTING EVIDENCE FOR A TYPE OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER KNOWN AS THE EPISODIC DYSCONTROL SYNDROME WHICH CAUSES UNCONTROLLABLE BEHAVIOR OFTEN LEADING TO THE COMMISSION OF VIOLENT CRIMES.
Abstract: WRITTEN FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF TWO FORENSIC PSYCHIATRISTS, THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO DRAMATIZE THE CRIMINOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF A NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER CALLED THE EPISODIC DYSCONTROL SYNDROME. THEY ARGUE THAT THIS SYNDROME PRODUCES TEMPORARY INSANITY AND MUST BE RECOGNIZED BY CRIMINAL COURTS AS A TOTAL ABSENCE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILIY IN DEFENDANTS DIAGNOSED BY FORENSIC PSYCHIATRISTS AS SUFFERING FROM IT. THE AUTHORS OF THIS STUDY EXAMINED AND EVALUATED A YOUNG MAN, WHO HAD COMMITTED A BRUTAL AND SENSELESS CRIME, AND FOUND THE MAJOR CRITERIA FOR AN EPISODIC DYSCONTROL SYNDROME TO BE PRESENT. A FUNCTIONAL, AND PROBABLY A STRUCTURAL BRAIN DEFECT WAS ALSO PRESENT (AS A CHILD THE DEFENDANT HAD BEEN OFTEN BRUTALLY BEATEN BY HIS FATHER, AND HAD SUBSEQUENTLY SUFFERED A HEAD TRAUMA IN AN ACCIDENT, SO THAT THE CASE FIT THE CRITERIA OF AN EPILEPTOID DYSCONTROL). THE PSYCHIATRISTS TESTIFIED THAT THE DEFENDANT SHOULD BE FOUND NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANTIY BECAUSE OF THIS MENTAL DEFECT. THE JURY, IN ITS VERDICT, EXPRESSED QUALIFIED SUPPORT OF THIS VIEW. THE STUDY CONCLUDES THAT MANY EXPLOSIVE INDIVIDUALS DO NOT CONTROL THEIR VIOLENT ACTIONS BECAUSE THEY CANNOT: RECOGNITION OF THE ORGANIC DYSFUNCTION IS CRUCIAL AND CAN LEAD TO EFFECTIVE TREATMENT AND PROPER DISPOSITION. ADVANCES IN THE AREA OF ORGANIC DYSCONTROL SHOULD SAVE MANY DEFENDANTS ON TRIAL FOR VIOLENT CRIMES FROM LENGTHY AND NEEDLESS INCARCERATION IN PENAL INSTITUTIONS, AND SHOULD SECURE FOR THEM THE PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT THEY NEED. ELEVEN BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES ARE APPENDED.
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Biological influences; Criminal responsibility; Criminality prediction; Epilepsy; Forensic psychiatry; Genetic influences on behavior; Insanity defense; Neurological disorders; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Psychiatric services; Psychological evaluation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68832

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