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The Clinical Approach to Offender Profiling

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Samantha Lundrigan

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of The Clinical Approach to Offender Profiling

The Clinical Approach to Offender Profiling
Contributing fields
Forensic psychiatry
Branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of those suffering from mental illness

The special case of the psychopathic offender
Psychopathic disorder - Mental Health Act 1983
'A persistent disorder or disability of the mind which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible behaviour'.
Clinical approach to profiling
Often more bizarre forms of CB
Inferences are made about unconscious mental processes
Individual judgment and experience
A systematic approach?
Copson, Badcock, Boon & Britton (1997)
What is the relationship between mental disorder and serious crime?

Three categories of disorder:
Developmental
Mental illness
Personality disorder
Mental Illness
Those conditions where an individual's mental functioning is significantly impaired compared to its normal state
May develop organically
Relate to mood or depression
shorter episodes of acute deviation
Richard Badcock
Julian Boon
Clinical Psychology
Focus on mental illness and behavioural problems

Begs the question....?
Schizophrenic disorders
Link with violence?
Fazel and Danesh (2002) Systematic review of 62 studies from 12 countries - 4% of male and female offenders
Steadman et al 2009 - 14.5% male and 31% female US prisoners had serious mental illness.
Wessely et al (1994) found that there was a 3.8 times greater likelihood of a conviction for violence amongst schizophrenics than other disorders
Personality disorder
DSM-IV an enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates markedly from cultural expectations, is inflexible and pervasive'

10 disorders classified into three categories:
Cluster A (odd-eccentric) paranoid, Scizoid, schizotypal
Cluster B (dramatic-erratic-emotional) antisocial, borderline, histronic, narcisstic
Cluster C (anxious-fearful) avoidant, dependent, obsessive compulsive
Link with violence?
Coid et al (2006) - prevalence of 4.4% for at least one disorder in general population

Higher in forensic settings - prisoner cohort study England and Wales - 72% of male prisoners met criteria for at least one.

Antisocial personality most prevalent


The criminal psychopath
Paul Britton
The Jigsaw Man (1997)
Picking up the Pieces (2000)

Used collective experience to develop a series of steps, features and principles they claim in common.
Key feature 1
Minute detail in which case material is analysed in the consideration of the questions:

WHAT?
HOW?
To WHOM?
=
WHY AND WHO
Key feature 2
Scene visit 'indispensable in understanding the context and importance of the case materials
Key feature 3
Inference of
MOTIVE
Four
steps lead to it and
five
steps lead away from it
Principles
1. Custom made
2. Interactive
3. Reflexive
Dangers
Imperative to please
Collusion
Recording of information
Misrepresentation
Critique of Clinical approach

Presupposes experience and validated accounts
Low incidence crimes
subjective
why rather than who
Lack of systematic process
When it goes right
Caroline Osborne
Personality disorder
Defined by 'abnormal' characteristics being in keeping with individual's normal behaviour
Long lasting pattern of behaviour
10n disorders classified into three categories:
Cluster A (odd-eccentric) paranoid, Scizoid, schizotypal
Cluster B (dramatic-erratic-emotional) antisocial, borderline, histronic, narcisstic
Cluster C (anxious-fearful) avoidant, dependent, obsessive compulsive
Link with violence?
Coid et al (2006) - prevalence of 4.4% for at least one disorder in general population

Higher in forensic settings - prisoner cohort study England and Wales - 72% of male prisoners met criteria for at least one.

Antisocial personality most prevalent

In legal terms personality disorders fall under the classification of 'psychopathic disorder'. Not a clinical diagnosis but clear overlap between the two.
Ambiguous characteristics
Barnum/Forer Effect
Confirmation bias
"Folding a foolscap page I began writing down a list of psychological features that I could draw from the material."
Britton, The Jigsaw Man, p. 50.
Profiling discredited
The case described
Psychological ladders or slippery slope?
"excessive zeal"
"deceptive conduct of the grossest kind"
Justice Ognall

Britton - BPS misconduct charge
http://bobnational.net/record/251480/media_id/252043

Developmental issues
Those thought and behaviour patterns associated with offending which develop in response to the intrinsic personal needs an life experiences of an offender Badcock, 1990
Three patterns of offence related behaviours come from developmental issues - expression of:
POWER
CONTROL
FANTASY
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