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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Deniz Aslan, Robert Edelmann, Diane Bray and Marcia Worrell

The relationship between accessing indecent images online and the perpetration of contact child sex offences remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is to provide a…

Abstract

Purpose

The relationship between accessing indecent images online and the perpetration of contact child sex offences remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is to provide a better understanding of the offence process of offenders who have both such convictions.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with older adult males who had downloaded indecent images and also had a history of contact sex offences against children. Data analysis involved thematic coding based on guidelines suggested by Braun and Clarke (2006).

Findings

Themes which emerged suggest some similarities (offence process behaviours), but also some differences (developmental factors) between the eight offenders. Data relevant to developmental factors formed two primary themes: childhood attachment difficulties and experiences of childhood abuse, both of which appeared to influence the offence process. Escalating factors generated a further three themes: adult relationships, personality problems and substance use. Five main categories also emerged with regard to offence behaviours: sexually deviant interests, lack of self-control, opportunity, the role of the internet (availability, easy access and anonymity), and cognitive distortions (justifications: interest in challenge and sexual frustration; denial: accidental access and denial of a victim, normalisation; blame: blame on the victim, new technologies and authorities and blame on other factors; and minimisation).

Practical implications

A better understanding of the offence process would inform clinical practice with such offenders and aid in the process of prevention.

Originality/value

This is the first research to date which explores the rationale provided for their behaviour by those convicted of both internet and contact child sex offences.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2019

Andra McGauran, Matthew Brooks and Roxanne Khan

Despite a robust link between poor caregiver attachment and antisociality, few studies have examined the influence of parentification and emotional resilience on…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite a robust link between poor caregiver attachment and antisociality, few studies have examined the influence of parentification and emotional resilience on delinquency in later life, in groups at differing risk for antisocial conduct. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This pilot study compared the influence of parentification, attachment style (avoidance or anxious) and emotional resilience on adulthood antisocial behaviour in an offender and normative sample. Of the 137 participants in this study, 66 were supervised by the National Probation Service (age M=36.90, SD=13.91), and 71 were recruited from community-dwelling and student populations (age M=31.83, SD=13.25).

Findings

In partial support of the predictions, participants in the offender group reported significantly greater levels of attachment anxiety compared to the normative group. However, emotional resilience was positively associated with antisociality in the normative sample.

Research limitations/implications

This small-scale investigation indicates value in exploring these specific variables in a larger, matched samples study, to enable clearer comparisons to be made between offender and normative groups.

Practical implications

The preliminary findings suggest that attachment anxiety is associated with antisociality in offender populations, which indicate a therapeutic focus on attachment anxiety as part of correctional care and offender rehabilitation.

Originality/value

This study is novel in its aim to examine the influence of childhood parentification, attachment deficits and emotional resilience on adulthood antisociality in participants from a high-risk offender sample and non-high-risk normative sample.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Valeria Abreu, Edward Barker, Hannah Dickson, Francois Husson, Sandra Flynn and Jennifer Shaw

The purpose of this paper is to identify offender typologies based on aspects of the offenders’ psychopathology and their associations with crime scene behaviours using…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify offender typologies based on aspects of the offenders’ psychopathology and their associations with crime scene behaviours using data derived from the National Confidential Enquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health concerning homicides in England and Wales committed by offenders in contact with mental health services in the year preceding the offence (n=759).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used multiple correspondence analysis to investigate the interrelationships between the variables and hierarchical agglomerative clustering to identify offender typologies. Variables describing: the offenders’ mental health histories; the offenders’ mental state at the time of offence; characteristics useful for police investigations; and patterns of crime scene behaviours were included.

Findings

Results showed differences in the offenders’ histories in relation to their crime scene behaviours. Further, analyses revealed three homicide typologies: externalising, psychosis and depression.

Practical implications

These typologies may assist the police during homicide investigations by: furthering their understanding of the crime or likely suspect; offering insights into crime patterns; provide advice as to what an offender’s offence behaviour might signify about his/her mental health background. Findings suggest information concerning offender psychopathology may be useful for offender profiling purposes in cases of homicide offenders with schizophrenia, depression and comorbid diagnosis of personality disorder and alcohol/drug dependence.

Originality/value

Empirical studies with an emphasis on offender profiling have almost exclusively focussed on the inference of offender demographic characteristics. This study provides a first step in the exploration of offender psychopathology and its integration to the multivariate analysis of offence information for the purposes of investigative profiling of homicide by identifying the dominant patterns of mental illness within homicidal behaviour.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Colleen M. Berryessa

The purpose of this paper is to explore how judges perceive High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders (hfASDs) and the disorders’ effects on an offender's ability to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how judges perceive High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders (hfASDs) and the disorders’ effects on an offender's ability to formulate criminal intent and control behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews on topics related to offenders with hfASDs were conducted with 21 California Superior Court Judges. A coding scheme was developed and an iterative qualitative coding process was used for analysis.

Findings

Analysis yielded three major themes on how an hfASD diagnosis affects an offender's ability to regulate actions and criminal behaviour. Interviewed judges reported beliefs that hfASD offenders view the world in a different way and that much of their behaviour is not under their direct control. Judges reported these perceptions likely affect how they criminally process and make legal decisions regarding offenders with hfASDs.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size was small and therefore no statistical significance can be drawn from results; findings cannot be applied to perceptions or experiences of the entire California Superior Court Judge population.

Originality/value

Past academic research reports that individuals with hfASDs that offend often do so because of specific symptoms associated with the disorder. This presents a complex dilemma for the criminal justice system regarding how best to understand the disorder and process these offenders. This study and its findings aim to shed light on issues judges encounter in determining these offenders’ responsibility and sentencing, in what ways this information might be integrated into judicial decision making, and areas where future research is needed.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Grace Trundle, Leam A. Craig and Ian Stringer

The purpose of this paper is to explore the different clinical features of pathological demand avoidance (PDA) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) presented in the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the different clinical features of pathological demand avoidance (PDA) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) presented in the form of a single case study. The study highlights the potential of misdiagnosis and conceptual confusions to practitioners in forensic settings between the two conditions when working with offenders with personality disorders.

Design/methodology/approach

A case formulation using the “five Ps” method based on the personal history of an incarcerated male is presented and the clinical similarities and differences between PDA and ASPD are delineated. These differences and similarities are evaluated and applied to offender management including intervention options.

Findings

There are considerable similarities between ASPD and PDA making the two conditions difficult to separate. Both diagnostic criteria identify childhood behavioural problems, aggression, destructiveness, conduct disorder (CD), manipulation and non-compliance as indications of the disorder. For example, the criteria for later adult ASPD are the presence of childhood antisocial behaviour and CD. However, these behaviours may also be suggestive of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and non-compliance that are part of PDA. Violent behaviours and aggression can also be perceived in a similar way. Misdiagnosis of PDA as ASPD reduces the efficiency of treatment programmes.

Originality/value

The implications of these findings could prove useful in the successful risk management of offenders with PDA. Given the similar behavioural characteristics between PDA and ASPD, the prevalence of PDA among offenders may be higher than observed. The aim of this study is to raise awareness of potential conceptual complications and clinical confusions between the two conditions with a view to aid offender management through case formulation. A large scale study into offenders with PDA would draw attention to the prevalence of the condition as well as its association with offending behaviour.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Kylie Reale, Eric Beauregard and Melissa Martineau

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether it is possible to identify different types of sadistic offenders within a sample of sexual homicide offenders (SHOs).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether it is possible to identify different types of sadistic offenders within a sample of sexual homicide offenders (SHOs).

Design/methodology/approach

The study addresses this research question through the use of two-step hierarchal cluster analysis and binary logistic regression utilizing a sample of 350 cases of sexual homicide from Canada.

Findings

Results from cluster analysis show that three groups emerge: a non-sadistic group, a mixed group that show evidence of some sadistic behavior and a sadistic group that have high levels of sadistic behavior. Additionally, the sadistic cluster was more likely to destroy or remove evidence at the crime scene than the mixed and non-sadistic cluster and was more likely to leave the victim’s body at a deserted location than the non-sadistic cluster.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the dimensionality of sadism within a sample of SHOs.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2013

Isabel Brunton and Tom Hartley

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) programme, prepared for the Joint Prison Probation Service Accreditation Panel…

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352

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) programme, prepared for the Joint Prison Probation Service Accreditation Panel, might reduce antisocial behaviour if delivered to school‐aged children.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents two studies. In the first, adult offenders' executive function was measured before and after undertaking the ETS course, using a self report form. Change in behaviour following the course was assessed using behaviour checklists completed by prison staff. In the second study, schoolchildren's executive function was measured using a self report form and their behaviour was also assessed using a comparable behaviour checklist.

Findings

The results showed an association between antisocial behaviour and poor executive function in both offenders and schoolchildren. Offenders displayed less antisocial behaviour following the ETS course. Executive function and antisocial behaviour measured before the ETS course predicted reduction in antisocial behaviour following the course.

Research limitations/implications

The studies do not establish a causal role for the ETS programme in reducing antisocial behaviour, and it was not possible to investigate the effect of the programme in schoolchildren. However, the results indicate that further research may be fruitful.

Practical implications

The possibility that an adapted ETS programme might lead to a reduction in antisocial behaviour in schoolchildren should be investigated. Behavior checklists and measures of executive function should guide the selection of individuals joining the ETS programme.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that the ETS programme might be effective outside a criminal justice setting, as an early intervention with schoolchildren aimed at preventing later offending.

Details

The Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Karen Pfeffer, Maureen Maxwell and Amie Briggs

The aims of this study are to examine the influence of offender age, offender abuse history, crime outcome and attributions for crime on judgments about young offenders.

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of this study are to examine the influence of offender age, offender abuse history, crime outcome and attributions for crime on judgments about young offenders.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 240 British undergraduates was asked to respond to a scenario about a young person who committed a crime, recommend a sentence, and rate the young offender's criminal accountability and legal understandings. Their attributions for crime were measured using the CDS‐II, adapted for observer attributions. The age of the young offender (ten years, 14 years, or 17 years), abuse history (abused or not abused) and crime outcome (victim death or injury) were varied systematically.

Findings

Internal attributions predicted participants' beliefs about punishment and sentencing recommendations. Although participants considered the youngest offenders to be less criminally accountable and unlikely to understand the legal process, this did not affect recommended punishment. Attributions of personal control were influenced by abuse history; the behavior of offenders with a history of abuse was considered less within the offender's personal control.

Originality/value

The results demonstrate the types of attributions and information that influence the opinions of jury‐eligible British adults when asked to make decisions about serious offences committed by young offenders.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2014

Donna Youngs and David Canter

Although most aetiological theories of crime assume that offenders are a distinct subset of the population, there is evidence that many illegal acts are committed by…

Abstract

Purpose

Although most aetiological theories of crime assume that offenders are a distinct subset of the population, there is evidence that many illegal acts are committed by people who have no convictions and are therefore not regarded as criminals. The question consequently arises as to whether there are aspects of illegal actions that set convicted offenders apart. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

To answer this, a 45-item self-report questionnaire was administered to two samples (males 15-29 years): 185 prisoners and 80 young men without convictions.

Findings

The results draw attention to a distinguishing psychological dimension of instrumentality operating across the range of offence forms. Convicted offenders are more likely to commit crimes for direct gratification with intent when compared with the sorts of illegal activities that non-convicted respondents report they have done.

Research limitations/implications

Careful matching of convicted criminals and those without convictions is extremely difficult. Future research that explores other non-criminal samples would therefore be of value.

Practical implications

Interventions with people who commit crimes need to carefully distinguish between those who are determined criminals and those whose activities are more likely to be part of an opportunistic culture.

Originality/value

The results challenge conceptualisation of criminals and criminality as something always distinct from those without convictions. It thus has implications for what theories of crime should seek to explain. The significance of instrumentality also give further force to the legal emphasis on men's area.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Phillip Chong Ho Shon and Shannon M. Barton‐Bellessa

Previous criminological research has examined the causes and correlates of violent juvenile offending, but failed to explore the developmental taxonomies of crime…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous criminological research has examined the causes and correlates of violent juvenile offending, but failed to explore the developmental taxonomies of crime throughout history. Theoretically, developmental trajectories of offending (i.e. life‐course persistent and adolescence‐limited offenders) should be identifiable irrespective of time and place. This study aims to examine the pre‐offense characteristics of nineteenth‐century American parricide offenders.

Design/methodology/approach

Using archival records of two major newspapers (New York Times, Chicago Tribune), the study examines 220 offenders who committed attempted and completed parricides during the latter half of the nineteenth century (1852‐1999).

Findings

Results reveal that a small group of adult parricide offenders displayed antisocial tendencies at an early age that persisted into adulthood. These findings are consistent with the developmental literature, thus providing support for identification of pre‐offense characteristics of parricide offenders across historical periods.

Originality/value

The findings reported in this paper are of value to psychologists, historians, and criminologists, for they illuminate the similarities in predictors related to violent behaviors in a small subsection of adult offenders across two centuries.

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