Crime profiles and conditional release performance of psychopathic and non-psychopathic sexual offenders (Porter, ten Brinke, & Wilson, 2009)
AbstractPurpose. This study investigated the influence of psychopathy and sex offender subtype on criminal history, probability of being granted conditional release, and performance while on conditional release in a diverse group of violent offenders. We predicted that psychopathic sexual offenders would be associated with relatively prolific violent and sexual offending, a high probability of successful conditional release applications despite their past behaviour (resulting from ‘putting on a good show’ in a parole hearing), and poor performance in the community.
Methods. Information was gathered via a correctional file review of 310 Canadian male federal offenders. Offenders were categorized into groups based on their sexual offence history (non-sex offender, rapist, child molester, or mixed rapist/molester) and Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003) ratings. Their offences (sexual, violent, or non-violent) and their complete conditional release histories were coded.
Results. Psychopathy was associated with more violent and non-violent, but not sexual, offences. A significant interaction between psychopathy and offender subtype revealed that psychopathy was associated with a greater number of sex offences within child molesters. High-psychopathy offenders (both sexual and non-sexual offenders) were about 2.5 times more likely to be granted conditional release than non-psychopathic offenders.
Conclusions. Psychopathy is associated with more prolific sexual offending among child molesters and – despite their extensive criminal histories and high recidivism rate – a great proficiency in persuading parole boards to release them into the community. Specialized education and training in dealing with psychopathic offenders is urgently needed.