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RECIDIVISM — 17 Comments

  1. Those are sobering statistics, Joyce. It really helps put things in perspective: past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior.

    The problem is that the psychopath is extremely convincing with the pity ploy. They make you FEEL that they are special, that they are not just a statistic, and that you are passing up a chance to make a difference in a person’s life — as well as your own. It’s the classic con, but that’s because it ALWAYS WORKS!

    There are a couple of things you can be sure of with the psychopath. One, is that he will use the pity ploy. And two, is that he will betray your compassionate nature and then laugh at you for being such a fool — EVEN as he heads back to prison!

    I hope your article will help spell it out to anyone who is trying to make a decision that could impact their life forever.

    • Skylar, the offender doesn’t even have to be a psychopath in order to reoffend, and yes, they ALL will use the pity ploy to get whatever family or friends they have left on the outside to take them in.

      The state doesn’t want to go to the expense of putting them into a half way house so the state encourages the family to take them in. Plus, in many places the state is prohibited from putting a sex offender in a half-way house and the states usually are not allowed to turn someone loose on parole who had NO place to go, no “parole plan.”

      A “Parole plan” of where they are going to live, who will provide them with housing, food, transportation etc. and where they can expect to find work, what kind of work, etc. is pretty much standard for an inmate successfully seeking a parole.

      Without this “Parole plan” the inmate would have to do their time day for day until mandatory release date at which time the prison gates would swing open and the prisoner would walk out.

      Many people who study the sociology of offenders blame their offending on poverty. This may be partly true, but my son was not from a poor family, or a bad neighborhood, or an abusive family (though he tried to use “abuse” as his defense for his crime of murder) Many people who study the sociology of offenders blame the “racist society” we have because more blacks are for crimes than whites per capita, as well as a higher rate of Hispanics.

      Many also blame the recidivism rates on the same factors, the offenders get out and go back to their old poverty stricken neighborhood, can’t get a job, (or don’t want to get a job) go back to their old friends and back to crime. I don’t doubt that is true, but I also doubt that our criminal justice system is able to fix all of the social ills of our country.

      There have been a few post release programs that have shown some success with drug and alcohol abuse treatment and with job skills training and job placement. I just saw one on television a day or two ago, and the federal government has given billions of dollars to the non-profit groups that run these programs, and I’m not sure that over all they have brought down a significant drop in recidivism.

      Not all offenders are psychopaths, and not all psychopaths go to prison, but the bottom line seems to be that statistically, the chance for real reform for most inmates today is pretty grim.

  2. Hi Joyce,
    You have a very depressing picture of the possible rehabilitation of prisoners. This is mainly due to your assessment that most prisoner are “psychopaths” with the implication that they are “treatment resistant”. The term “psychopath” is often used in the popular press and popular thinking in the criminal jurisdiction circles. But this term is not recognized by the psychiatric and psychological associations. In fact, the term “psychopath is not mentioned in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual or Mental Disorder (PSMMD)- the psychiatric bible – which has been replaced with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

    Let me quote a report:
    “When psychologists talk about psychopaths, what we’re referring to are people who have a distinct set of personality characteristics, which include things like ruthlessness, fearlessness, mental toughness, charm, persuasiveness and a lack of conscience and empathy. Imagine that you tick the box for all of those characteristics. You also happen to be violent and stupid.”

    “I ran a survey in 2011, “The Great British Psychopath Survey,” in which I got people to fill out a questionnaire online to find out how psychopathic they were. I also got people to enter their occupations, what they did for a living, and how much money they earned over the course of a year. We found a whole range of professions cropping up—no serial killers among them, although no one would admit to it. The results made very interesting reading, especially if you’re partial to a sermon or two on a Sunday, because the clergy cropped up there at number eight. You had the usual suspects at the top; you had your CEOs, lawyers, media—TV and radio. Journalists were a bit down the list. We also had civil servants. There were several police officers, actually, so as opposed to being criminals, some psychopaths are actually out there locking other people up. Any situation where you’ve a got a power structure, a hierarchy, the ability to manipulate or wield control over people, you get psychopaths doing very well.”
    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Pros-to-Being-a-Psychopath-176019901.html#ixzz2RSAQsqCw

    As I have said before if you think in term of rehabilitation you MUST abandon any notion of diagnosis and labelling people. Two alcoholics are not the same, one schizophrenic is different from an other schizophrenic, and bipolar people are all different with a distinct personality of their own. All these people can benefit from evidence-based scientific treatment combining nutrition and psychotherapy.

    Please read: Biochemical Individuality by Roger Williams at http://books.google.com.au/books?id=o_HUXwbnsEoC&lpg=PR16&dq=individuality+of+biochemistry&as_brr=3&pg=PA8&redir_esc=y.

    The failure rate of reforming prisoners in the USA and in most “modern developed countries” is notoriously low, and the reason is that the “psychology of human behaviour” is largely a collection of unscientific theories that are based on the false assumption that “mental illness is an illness of the MIND”, completely ignoring the fact that most “mental illnesses” are in fact diseases of the body and not of the mind. The problem does not lie with the offender, but the mental health industry professionals unable and untrained and not equipped to scientifically rehabilitate offenders.

    The labelling of offenders in prisons as “psychopaths” stem from the practice of psychiatrists to having to label and “diagnose” people so that they can claim their fees under the medical health system. Doctors cannot claim their fees unless hey have a diagnosis. as is the case with most other doctors in the medical profession.

    Among psychiatrists a diagnosis (label) is not arrived at by medical tests, or blood tests or any other scientific test, but by MAJORITY AGREEMENT among specially chosen psychiatrists – often supported by the pharmaceutical companies – that a certain clusters of behaviour be classified, diagnosed, labeled as X,Y or Z.

    See the lengthy video documentary:
    The Untold Store of Psychotropic Drugging
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/making-a-killing-the-untold-story-of-psychotropic-drugging/

    Please stop classifying people with “treatment resistant” labels such as “psychopaths” and open you mind to more advanced scientific models of treatments.
    Most of your prisoners are in fact drug addicts or alcoholics (about 75%) and once you understand the metabolic underlying causes of addiction, you will soon be on the way of being able to help other offenders with ASPD’s. Also read:

    The Forgotten Factors in the Crime Debate
    http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2011/the-forgotten-factor-in-the-crime-debate/

    • Jurplesman,
      It does seem like some of us have a closed mind about repeat offenders — whether we are talking about convicts or the little old lady who likes to mess with your head.

      But that’s because we USED to have such an open mind and heart that they both fell out. We were the ones who took responsibility for the offender. We gave them chance after chance after chance. Not for a week, or a month or a year but for DECADES.

      We had more HOPE for them than you can imagine.

      The point is not that they are hopeless, maybe there is hope for some of them and I certainly believe that diet and nutrition are KEY in that. All the repeat offenders that I know, have an obvious sweet tooth. Some of them to the point that their teeth are falling out. But the point is that their FAMILIES cannot be the ones who rehabilitate them. They need special counseling, special help beyond anything we can do for them. In fact, all that families can do is ENABLE their bad behaviors because their parasitic behavior is part of their disease.

      Learning to discern the limits of my ability to “fix” or even respond to repeat offenders, has been the most empowering insight I’ve had in my life.

      Imagine the shock to my psychopathic brother when he asked me if I was still mad at him and I told him, “you don’t exist.” He was used to having me completely manipulated, always forgiving him, always wanting to help him, making sure he lacked for nothing. All of that after he kicked kittens to death, kicked other kittens so that it cost me thousands in vet bills, lives for free in my parents’ basement watching porn and drinking beer, collecting food stamps and trading them for cigarettes., I excused all of that. Until I learned. Then when he attacked me, scratched himself, and had me arrested for domestic violence he thought I would still forgive him because everyone knows “he’s a little crazy”. He was shocked to learn that the best supply had run out.

      • Sky, it is only when we learn to QUIT ENABLING people who make bad choices. Notice I said CHOICES not mistakes. A bad choice is to decide to rob a bank. A bad choice is to do anything illegal over and over again. To refuse to be responsible for yourself, to provide yourself with a roof, transportation, food, clothing etc . If we provide these things for others, like your parents do for your brother, we are ENABLING them to live without being responsible adults. Why should they work? They have everything they want and can lie around all day and drink beer someone else buys and watch porn. I wouldn’t want that life style but some folks are content with that. I worked my way through school cleaning other people’s toilets while supporting my kids and then went to work, paid off my student loans, built my home with my own hands and a few hired contractors and what I have I have due to my own efforts and God’s grace. So I do not feel sorry for those that are broke or down and out. I lived in the back of my pick up with two kids and a cat for a summer until I could get enough money together to find a place to live. My mother is a wealthy woman but I did not ask to move in with her or to borrow money. She didn’t offer anything either. I did not want to be in her debt. If I had had to I could have borrowed from friends, and would have if my kids were hungry, but they weren’t so I didn’t. But you know, I figure if I can do it, any one who WANTS to can do so as well, it is a question of motivation.

        I have also been an enabler, and I’m working very hard to stop that. I have a great “feel sorry for the underdog” place in my brain, I was trained that it was my job to keep everyone else “happy” at my own expense. Well, I now see the error of my ways. It is a trait that is difficult to break but I will do my best to do so. It just breaks my heart though to see so many families used and abused by people like my son and your brother.

        • Joyce, I do not have the training or education to expect my views to be understood as finite, but my experiences have taught me that there are some people – SOME human beings – who have absolutely no interest in taking responsibility for their own actions and standing accountable for having made some very, very poor decisions and choices.

          Unless (and, UNTIL) any single individual makes the conscious decision and choice to alter their actions and behaviors, recidvism will continue. Some of those people have been termed as “career” criminals – that is to say that they have chosen a life of crime, deceit, and betrayal as a CAREER. This, in turn, places those who love them (family and friends) in emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual peril.

          I wish that the answers to all of the world’s problems were as simple as changing nutrition, but it isn’t. The human organism is complex and when a human being does not have empathy, remorse, or a conscience, no amount of nutritional alterations are going to miraculously embed these missing cores in a person that is incapable of maintaining them.

          Recidivism applies to those individuals who have been charged and convicted of their crimes. What about those who NEVER are held accountable for what they’ve done? If there are no serious and “true” consequences, why would I expect that they should care about the damages that they’e inflicted?

          HARD LABOR makes an individual too tired on a physical and emotional level to even entertain new and more creative methods of committing crimes when they’re finally released. Prison isn’t about “rehabilitation,” on any level. It’s about warehousing petulant, un-remorseful people who generally have no concern about what their crimes have done to victims, surviving family members, and their own family members.

          Just my 2 cents….

          • Truthy, you don’t need a whole lot of “formal education” in order to be able to observe what is right before your eyes. LOL There are, indeed, those people who have no interest in reform, even if you feed them on manna and the nector of the gods.

            It is sort of like people who believe if you just love it enough and treat it kindly that a tiger will make a nice house pet and never bite you. Well ask those guys Sigfried and Roy about that. A tiger is a wild animal with a wild animal’s wild instincts and while most of the time it may act according to your training, it will still have those wild instincts and will act on them from time to time with horrible results. A killer does not have to kill 24/7 day after day in order to be a killer. Or in order to be a danger to society or their family.

            While a tiger is easily identified from a house cat, a human predator looks like every other human, there are no distinguishing stripes or claws to make them stand out, though some of them tattoo and pierce themselves to the point of looking like a predator, in our society this is not a crime. What is a crime is not how you look but how you ACT. But even then in most cases people are given a second chance, as 95% of all inmates, even murderers, will come out of prison, back into society, sometime in their lives. Many of these people are ill prepared to live in society, many are old, medically ill, put back into society because the state prison system didn’t want to pay for their medical care and put them back on the street for their families if they have any to deal with. Many of these inmates don’t have any families.

            The rest go on to do “life on the installment plan” staying out a short time, a year or two, then back again, rinse and repeat, and then winding up like those old and sick inmates who wind up in a half way house, put out because the cost of their medical care is so high the prison system wants the state medicaid program to foot the bill and they have through the years “used up” every family connection they have and none of their relatives wants anything to do with them. Their parents have died, and their siblings are disgusted with them, if they have any kids, they don’t want anything to do with them, either that, or they are doing a nickel for robbing a convenience store.

  3. Jurples man, I won’t go into the long debate about the term “psychopath” but in the NEW DSM V which comes out in a couple of months, it WILL be used.

    Yes, I do in fact have a very dark view of the chances for real reform in our prison population. I have studied it for many years now. Statistics don’t always show the truth though. Remember the old adage that a man with one foot on a red hot stove and the other on a block of ice is “comfortable?” Well,unfortunately, the people keeping the statistics for recidivism have a vested interest, either in showing that their program “works” by showing that people who have been through their program are less likely to offend, or that this or that rehabilitation program works.

    Personality disorders (Axis II) are highly genetic as shown by many many studies, as are the tendencies for addictions. It has been well known for generations that the tendency for alcoholism is genetic. The specific sites in the brain in which the cocaine and other drugs bind are now known. Nicotine is another drug, and is personally, my of choice, but I have quit smoking. I still crave the nicotine, but I do not give in to that craving. I will likely always crave it, so I have some understanding of a person with a craving for other drugs.

    I realize that you are of the opinion that hypoglycemia is the answer to drug addiction and aggression and hence crime, but I am afraid that medical science and psychological and social research does not back you up on this Jurplesman, so we are going to have to agree to disagree on this I am afraid.

  4. Hi Joyce, I have worked for many years in the criminal justice system and in prisons. A a psychologist I reject the notion of diagnostic labels and treat the individual with all his idiosyncratic biochemical profiles AND also the psychological aspects. It is not nutrition alone!! It is psycho-nutrition.
    I agree that that there is a lot of vested interest in keeping the prison system as ineffective as possible. If proper treatment for prisoners were accepted by the general population we soon have another financial crisis going on with a big slice of the population being unemployed due to prison reform. Think of all the various professions, lawyers, judges, police officers, prison officers, probation and parole officers., counsellors, health practitioners of all kinds, journalists, court officers who all depend on their job because of the ignorance about evidence-based science pointing the way towards reform.

    You say that science does not back me up but then have a look at:
    Research Evidence for Hypoglycemia
    http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2011/research-evidence-for-hypoglycemia/

    Yes we will disagree from now on.

  5. I can say one thing for sure, Jurplesman, you are definitely right that our “criminal justice system” (is that an oxymoron or what? LOL) is a complete and total mess with a revolving door. What we are doing does NOT work, that is for sure. You and I may disagree on what the “treatment” is to fix the problem, but we do not disagree that the problem is huge.

    My purpose on this blog, however, is not to reform the prison system, but to help those family members on the outside who are encouraged to take back into their home an offender who is NOT (for whatever reason) going to change. I am not talking about the young kid who makes the bad decision to sell a bit of drugs, or smokes a little marijuana, I am talking about the ones who rob, beat, murder, gang members who are violent, etc. these families are encouraged by “the system” to take these offenders back into their homes. The families are generally already poor, and they do not need to ALSO have a violent hard core offender in their home who is going to offend again.

    The fact of the matter is that in general, the majority of offenders WILL re-offend. I have seen parents mortgage their homes to put up bail for a son who then skipped out and they lost their home. Lawyers are so expensive and parents who have any assets will frequently use every asset they have to bail Junior out after he has robbed or other crime, and then use the rest of their assets to hire him an expensive criminal defense attorney.

    The family ends up destitute and Junior does a “life” sentence on the installment plan, going back, getting out, going back over and over. I know a family here locally, the best of the best hard working good people with a son who is a worthless offender, and each time he gets out they take him back and when he goes back again for stealing their hearts are broken over and over. I personally know others in the same boat. It is like they were in a canoe and paddling for all they are worth while Junior chops a hole in the bottom and when it sinks he wants to hold on to their back while they swim to shore.

    I’m sorry Jurplesman that these offenders are REPEAT offenders, and I’m at a point where the “treatment” (if there is any) is beside the point. I want to save the families that these people continually hurt. They con their families like my son conned me, because the parents love their kid and hope the best for their adult child. It is just the “adult child
    ” is still acting like a two year old.

  6. My father always told me that there are two types of people in the world. Givers and takers. You can never make a giver, take, and you can never make a taker, give. What do you think the Spaths of the world are? Every violation they do to others is selfish (taking from others, whatever they use in the form of taking). That’s why Jesus warned us ….

    For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

    1 Timothy 6:10

    Amen.

    Covet means: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another’s property.

    • I agree with your father in general principle Wini, that’s for sure.When people are greedy for what belongs to others (envy) it actually doesn’t make any difference if it is just the money of others, or the wife of another or what it is that belongs to another (I think that is why God mentioned desiring things that belonged to another so many times as sinful in the Bible.) TROUBLE, pain and sorrow always results when we want things that belong to others.

      Unfortunately, even going to prison does not change the mind set of most people who have gone to prison to make them see that a life of crime is not the way to go. There have been many different methods and theories over the centuries on how to change the thinking of “criminals” and some different theories on how to punish and how to rehabilitate criminals, all groups over the centuries have unfortunately failed at their goals.

      One group that I am familiar with takes the Gospel into the prisons, it is called Kairos and they have a ministry in prison and the members of this group only have a 10% recidivism rate, but I am of the opinion that it isn’t because they so much as change the inmates, as that they pick out the inmates that are the “cream of the crop” to start with, the inmates who are OPEN TO FAITH to start with.

      The people like my son Patrick, men who can quote the Bible word for word and yet it does not reach their heart, those men (and women) are not touched by the Word of God (or anything else!) Remember, Satan himself was an angel before the fall. He can quote scripture and knew God Himself. I believe Scripture can educate us, but only if we are open to it. If we choose to close our minds to anything, to any information we are not going to be receptive to that information.

      Look at how many men and women get out of prison and go right back into crime, stealing, raping, violence, etc. punishment didn’t scare them straight. Rehabilitation didn’t reach them. Our prison system is a failure. Our parole system is a failure. Our social system is a failure. It has always been a failure, from the time the British quit transporting their “criminals” to the colonies here (America) and started transporting them to Australia. One of the most well researched and heart rending books I ever read is “Fatal Shore, the Epic of Australia’s Founding” by Robert Hughes about the transportation of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent and poor English to the brutal conditions of early Australia prison camps which were run by brutal psychopathic slave masters who enjoyed torturing their charges in the most inhumane manners ever imagined, on the scale of the Nazi prison camps.

      That many prisons in the US in the past have not been much better is a documented fact. Many jails and prisons today may not be much better.

      So, on the one hand we have both abused prisoners, and we have prisoners who could be rehabilitated but are so abused that after they come out they are so traumatized they are beyond hope, and then we have those prisoners who were hardened psychopaths, hardwired for violence before they went to prison, that no amount of rehabilitation would have helped, and only long term prison would protect society from their violence, but they are continually released back into society.

      What’s the answer? I wish I knew, Wini.

  7. Jesus said that we need to stay humble for a reason. One, being that we can only read and comprehend His truth when we shelve the ego. Two, being what I learned when my bosses and their cronies attacked me ,,, that they violate the very 1st commandment of Thou shalt have no other gods before me … other gods being themselves, their big ego … besides following the lies of satan, the god they worship.

    It’s easy and takes no effort to be a coward and do what’s wrong (aka evil), It takes courage to live a righteous life to do what is right, the way Jesus taught.

    • Wini, many people do mean things to others, and they are not sent to prison for their offenses. Those mean things don’t “qualify” as criminal offenses by our laws, or if they actually do qualify as criminal offenses, for one reason or another they are not prosecuted as such. Fraud, for example, is very difficult to “prove” the way our laws are written, and many people are conned and defrauded out of money or other things and are never able to prosecute that fraud. The criminal cons go scot free skipping off into the sunset with the victim’s money. I think you know exactly what I am talking about.

      This kind of con job is frequently accomplished in a “love fraud” relationship or against the elderly. In the last few years the internet is also being used to find victims for this kind of con job, which allows the criminal to keep enough of a distance between them and their victim that it makes it much easier for them to escape prosecution.

  8. Interesting article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420266/Rapist-accompanied-female-therapist-reintegration-society-session-run–body-discovered-Swiss-woodlands.html

    This article where an inmate is being “rehabilitated” back into society and is let out of prison to go to a “horseback riding therapy” apparently kills the therapist and escapes.

    I can not understand why many courts and therapists don’t seem to get it that there are SOME people who can NOT be “rehabilitated.” This woman paid with her life for extending trust and caring to a man who apparently had no desire to “go straight” and took her life in his escape bid.

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