, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 399-412

An evaluation of a maximum security therapeutic community for psychopaths and other mentally disordered offenders

Abstract

Psychopaths present serious problems for the criminal justice system because they are responsible for many serious crimes and appear to be very resistant to treatment. The present study was a retrospective evaluation of the efficacy of a maximum security therapeutic community program in reducing recidivism among mentally disordered offenders, some of whom were psychopaths. The study employed a matched group, quasiexperimental design. The results showed that, compared to no program (in most cases prison), treatment was associated with lower recidivism (especially violent recidivism) for nonpsychopaths and higher violent recidivism for psychopaths. The clinical and research utility of Hare's Psychopathy Checklist was strongly supported.

This research was supported by Ontario Mental Health Foundation under grant no. 952-86-88. Thanks are due to Vern Quinsey for helpful comments and to V. Bell, C. Lang, L. Koeshkerian, S. Robinson, and C. MacKnight for assisting in data collection.