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Criminal Law

: Crime and Consequences

Just Can't Help Themselves

By Kent Scheidegger et al.

John Seabrook of the New Yorker has this in-depth article about Dr. Kent Kiehl at the University of New Mexico titled Suffering Souls. As the article details, Dr. Kiehl is the leading expert in the field of brain imaging and psychopathy. As part of his work with the Mind Research Network, Dr. Kiehl is using a portable fMRI machine to image hundreds of prison inmates and juvenile delinquents. The work is impressive and illuminating, but prone to Overclaim Syndrome as is evident near the end of the article: Psychopathy also raises fundamental issues about justice. At the core of our judicial system is the assumption that someone who appears sane is culpable for his actions. (In the U.S., there is no insanity defense for psychopaths.) As Decety, of the University of Chicago, put it to me, ?We still basically work out of a Biblical system of punishment?we don?t consider, in most cases, to what extent the offender?s actions were intentional or unintentional...continue to full post

Full post as published by Crime and Consequences on November 17, 2008 (boomark / email).

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