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This chapter describes pseudoscience and questionable ideas related to antisocial personality disorder. The chapter opens by considering diagnostic controversies such as the construct of psychopathy. Questionable assessment practices and myths that influence treatment are also addressed. Dubious treatments include psychedelics, psychoanalysis, and punishment-based interventions. The chapter closes by reviewing research-supported approaches.
Interventions with violent offenders are likely to be most beneficial for the person, potential victims and society when directed at those with the strongest histories of violence, many of whom also have extensive histories of crime. These psychological interventions are most often provided in groups for men in correctional settings, and are intensive, with a focus both on influencing dynamic risk factors, but especially on providing a responsive solution to the myriad challenges posed by common characteristics of this client group, such as low readiness for change and high PCL-R scores. The theoretical and empirical research base for these interventions still lags well behind the practice; there is tentative positive evidence that these programmes reduce recidivism and change dynamic risk factors, but meta-analytic findings are hampered by study heterogeneity and a lack of primary research. Areas for future development include interventions for mentally disordered clients, women and indigenous people.
Traumatic brain injury is overrepresented in incarcerated samples and has been linked to a number of poor correctional outcomes. Despite this, no research has explored the impact of a recent TBI on compliance outcomes for individuals serving community-based.
We screened for a history of TBI in 106 adults on community sentences and collected compliance (arrests, sentence violations) and related variables (e.g., risk scores, substance use) over 6 months. Sixty-four participants also completed the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), the Comprehensive Trail Making Test and Color-Word Inference Test.
A TBI in the last year predicted a significantly higher likelihood of arrest, even when controlling for risk of reconviction and current substance use, but was not associated with non-compliance with sentence conditions nor with performance on the neuropsychological tests. In addition, no significant associations were found between performance on neuropsychological tests and measures of non-compliance.
TBI in the last year was an independent predictor of arrest. This result suggests that those with a recent TBI on a community sentence may need additional monitoring or support to reduce the risk of reoffending.
Violent offender interventions are still more intuitively than empirically driven. The most important goal of interventions with violent offenders is to reduce reoffending risk. This chapter provides general principles of intervention for violent offenders: the risk principle, risk and treatment intensity; criminogenic needs; and responsivity issues. It then considers how to judge whether programme evaluation designs are effective or not, and then discusses two types of programmes: low-intensity anger management programmes and high-intensity multifactorial programmes. Positive psychology approaches such as Good Lives model (GLM) provide an important humanistic counterweight to pressure on some programmes to integrate politically driven punitive agendas into their practices. The chapter also presents a case example of violent offender intervention: the Rimutaka Violence Prevention Programme (RVPU), which is a ten-year-old thirty-bed medium-secure unit in a large prison near Wellington, New Zealand.