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Posted on October 12th, 2012, by

Traditionally, psychopaths were viewed as people who are inclined to commitment of acts which are abnormal and often are accompanied with excessive aggression and violence. At the same time, I was surprised to learn that from 20 to 60 per cent of state correctional populations are psychopaths. In fact, 20% seems to be quite normal but when the rate of psychopaths among the state correctional population exceeds 50 and reaches the level of 60%, such a share of psychopaths in the state correctional population is striking. In this respect, it is important to understand to understand causes of crimes and motives of criminals because psychopaths normally do not have any logical reasonable goal when they commit crimes. In stark contrast, they are more inclined to be guided by their emotions, while aggression and deviant behavior may be provoked not only by internal inclinations of psychopaths but also external influences on their psychological state. However, in such a situation, property crimes and other crimes, which involve some material interest of offenders, which, by the way, comprise a considerable part of all crimes committed in the US, cannot be explained by psychopathic inclinations of criminals solely. In other words, the high level of psychopath among the state correctional population and the fact of being psychopath do not necessarily mean that an individual is a criminal but it rather implies that an individual, a psychopath, is inclined to deviant behavior. In such a context, the 20-60% of psychopaths among the state correctional population does not seem to be as surprising as it used to be at first glance.

First of all, it should be said that psychopath are naturally more inclined to the commitment of crimes compared to the rest of the population because, a priori, psychopaths are inclined to aggressive and violent behavior. Moreover, what is considered to be a norm for psychopaths is abnormal for non-psychopaths. At the same time, psychopaths can disobey to existing social norms, but their actions are guided mainly by their emotions but not reason. In this regard, the high level of psychopaths in the state correctional population seems to be quite logical, but, on the other hand, such a high share of psychopaths does not mirror the actual crime rates. What is meant here is the fact that crimes are committed because of different reasons and motives of criminals differ. Obviously, psychopaths are more inclined to emotional actions and they are not inclined to careful planning of crimes. Moreover, they cannot always assess adequately outcomes of their actions and their behavior is spontaneous. They do not pursue any material values while committing their offensive actions.

In such a context, respectively to the share of psychopaths in the state correctional population, 20-60% of crimes should be committed without any logical reason and without pursuing any material goals. At any rate, material benefits should be definitely secondary to psychopathic criminals. However, it seems to be surprising that over a half of the state correctional population is psychopath because, in such a case, over the half of all the crimes committed by the correctional population are committed because of psychological problems in criminals and their unstable psychological state. In such a context, the property-related, carefully planned crimes become inexplicable, while it is obvious that such crimes comprise a large part of all the crimes committed by the correctional population. Therefore, there is certain controversy between the psychopaths’ share in the state correctional population and the essence of crimes committed by the correctional population.

In addition, it is worth mentioning the fact that the major characteristics of crimes committed by psychopaths should be accompanied by aggression and violence. In such a situation, the growth of violent crime rates can be explained by a large share of psychopaths among the state correctional population. On the other hand, non-violent crimes are unlikely to be committed by psychopaths. Therefore, 60% of crimes should be violent that is apparently excessive compared to the actual share of violent crimes committed in the US.

Furthermore, it is necessary to take into consideration factors forcing people to commit crimes. In this respect, socioeconomic factors influence consistently the level of crime rates. No wonder, the highest crime rates are in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Consequently, it is possible to presuppose that it is socioeconomic factors but not psychopathic inclinations that are prior in the commitment of crimes in the US. In addition, psychopaths may be encountered in any locations and social classes. Therefore, it is impossible to explain crimes by psychopathic inclinations of criminals solely.

Thus, it is obvious that psychopathic inclinations increase the risk of the commitment of crimes, but psychopathic inclinations solely are not the only factors that determined criminal behavior of individuals. In such a context, the high rate of psychopaths among the state correctional population is not surprising but crimes are committed not only because of psychopathic inclinations of offenders but also because of other factors, such as socioeconomic ones.

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