An examination of the divergent general, specific, and other criminogenic risk/needs across neuropathic and psychopathic pathways to homicide

D. G. Gilligan*, C. J. Lennings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The social learning theory underlying Andrews and Bonta's Psychology of Criminal Conduct model has generally been seen as guiding risk assessment, with good relevance to mentally ill as well as non-mentally ill offenders. The current study reports a novel approach to qualitative assessment of 26 murderers found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI), divided into two groups-neuropathic offenders characterised by frontal lobe deficits and psychosis and psychopathic murderers characterised by high scores on psychopathy and an absence of neuropathic factors. The findings of the present research support the notion that the two pathways are embedded in two diverging theoretical frameworks of psychopathology and social learning theory, with each corresponding to the neuropathic and psychopathic pathways, respectively. Models of social learning theory may have limited utility to the total mentally disordered offender population overall as they apply more specifically to offenders within special offender groups or perhaps more specifically to offenders with psychopathic characteristics. However, the significantly greater association of the other social, physical, and mental health risk/needs with the neuropathic pathway suggests that pathological models are important for understanding the neuropathic pathway in relation to homicide offence and risk of future violence in NGRI samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-715
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • criminogenic needs
  • murder
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • psychopathy
  • psychosis
  • risk assessment

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