Term Paper: Criminal Behavior Has Been Practiced

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Criminal behavior has been practiced for as long as one can recall. However, it would not be wrong to say that not much importance has been given to the forensic mental health assessment of the people who go for any acts that fall in the category of criminal behavior. When the word criminal behavior is mentioned, the first thing that comes to the minds of most people is killing of people by the criminals or robbery acts by dacoits, however, there are many other acts that come under the definition of criminal behavior but do not seem very criminal to the common man (American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 1995).

The little work that has been done regarding the forensic mental health assessment has been compiled by some of the forensic specialists. They have taken the case studies from the psychologists and psychiatrists of the people who committed criminal activities. Their expert opinion has also been compiled in the book called Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook, along with the discussion of the cases. It should be remembered that these cases have been altered to some extent to cover all kinds of offenders, but the content of the cases has been taken from the real world incidents of criminal activities.

In this particular paper, we shall be discussing three case scenarios pertaining to the criminal behavior of some people. We shall then discuss this case scenario with respect to the mental assessment of these criminals that was carried out by their psychologists and psychiatrists. These reports and assessments are the ways through which the attorneys and legal advisors plan the proceedings and arguments of the cases.

Case 1: Child Molester

In the first case scenario a 45-year-old man, called John J. was referred to his attorney for his psychological assessment after he sexually offended a nine-year-old girl. His attorney, Mr. Singleton requested this forensic mental health assessment to find out whether or not Mr. J is compulsive and repetitive as the confirmation of this would bring him under the purview of the New Jersey Sex Offender Act. This would then qualify him for the specialized treatment services that are given as a result of such findings. The mental assessment would also determine if Mr. J presented any risks to the community because of any mental disorder that he is suffering from, if any, and so that treatment could be planned accordingly.

Many people believe that all the sex offenders have more or less the same profile that sets them apart from the rest of the "innocent" people. There are a number of psychological as well psychiatric theories that have been devised pertaining to the kind of personality most of the sex offenders have. In this part of the paper, we shall discuss some of the theoretical characteristics of the sex offenders that have postulated by some of the psychologists. Later in this paper, we shall analyze the personality of Mr. J and conclude that whether or not he is a criminal or not.

For many years, researchers have concluded that some of people who indulge in criminal activities with respect to sexual offence are ones who are interested or aroused by sexual behavior that is not considered to be appropriate or healthy. People who have the tendency to indulge in sexual contact with people who are younger than them like adolescents and children mostly end up being sex offenders later in life (American Psychological Association, 1992). Theory also suggests that people who grow up to criminal sex offenders often have forced sexual relationship with people without their consent and most of the times these people also inflict humiliation and pain on other people. Researchers have also postulated that people who participate or watch video clips that demonstrate actions of physical violence or aggression are most likely to become criminal sex offenders in the future. Apart from this, people who like to expose themselves in public or where there are a lot of people and those who enjoy watching other people undress and that too secret are also prone to indulge in criminal sexual offence. The identification of these deviant sexual interest and what is often called arousal patterns can be done by either self-report or by exercising some specific physiological instruments. It has also been reported in some cases that the criminal sexual offenders often find the aforementioned ways of sexual arousal more satisfying than the healthy sexual behavior that includes having sexual relationships with partners of around the same age group. Therefore, for some sex offenders to indulge in criminal behaviors pertaining to sexual contact, the aforementioned types of arousal, preferences, urges and interests are the main driving force behind their criminal acts. Moreover, another conclusion that the researchers have made is that the deviant arousal, preferences and interests have a connection with re-offence as well (Rea, 2003).

It should be noted here that the characteristics of the personality of the sex offenders that have theorized do not have to be necessarily present in all the sex offenders. At the same times, these sexual arousal patterns might be present in the general public without any of them getting engaged in any kind of offending behavior. However, it is one of the most important risk factors for those who indulge in criminal activities.

According to the interview that was given by Mr. J to his attorney, he did not have any of the deviant sexual behavior that, according to theory, should be present in people who indulge in criminal activities related to sexual offence. However, he did indulge in promiscuous behavior and cheated on his girlfriend a number of times and had sexual relationship with more than one woman at the same time. Therefore, this does not make him a criminal but probably only a cheater, according to what theory suggests. The ground reality can be completely different.

Case 2: Mentally Disordered Offender

This case is about Mr. W who was convicted for offenses but he appealed in the court that he was suffering from reduced mental capacity and that he was suffering from symptoms around the time he committed the offence.

The consequences of mensrea or what is commonly referred to as mental state or guilty mind and reduced mental capacity pertaining to sentencing and responsibility of the criminal activities are the things that will be targeted mainly in this part of the paper. The principle that was employed in this case was to emphasize on the importance of making use of the data from more than one source so that other hypotheses should be ruled out and an accurate evaluation of the case should be made. In this particular case, the forensic issue is reduced mental capacity and the predisposition of this sort of mental capacity to the commitment of criminal act. The federal statute that is applicable in this case and for the evaluation of Mr. W indicates that if the defendant is found to have committed an offense that is non-violent while he suffers from mental capacity that has been significantly reduced, not because of voluntary use of drugs or any other intoxicant, he would be warranted a lower sentence because of his mental status and its contribution in the commitment of the crime or offense. However, for this to occur, it is important for the defendant to provide history of his mental capacity that does not give an impression of a need for imprisonment of the individual to protect the general public.

The most important of the tests that were to be conducted in this case was the psychological testing. To make an assessment of the symptoms that might be present and might be linked to the present mental capacity for which he has been providing reasons of diminished self-control, he was made a part of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2. This is a potentially good instrument as it can provide appropriate evidence about the present of the metal disorder, there is still a need for the establishment of reconstructive link by other sources. He met the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder as well as that of Major Depression. Moreover, his MMPI-2 profile was also consistent with the symptoms of these disorders. The next question was to find out that whether or not he was experiencing these symptoms with the same intensity when he was convicted for the offenses he had committed. Furthermore, there is also a need to find out the role that these symptoms had to play in reasoning, understanding or capacity of Mr. W to behave in an unlawful manner. One of the theories did suggest that there is a possibility that Mr. W was going through the symptoms of his mental disorder at the time he violated the law, which had adverse effect on his functioning, especially related to his reasoning, understanding and volitional control that were linked with his offenses.

Mr. W's mother and his ex-wife were both contacted to collect information about the mental status of Mr. W.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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