Advertisement

Neuroethics

pp 1–17 | Cite as

Biocriminal Justice: Exploring Public Attitudes to Criminal Rehabilitation Using Biomedical Treatments

  • Robin Whitehead
  • Jennifer A. ChandlerEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Biomedical interventions, such as pharmacological and neurological interventions, are increasingly being offered or considered for offer to offenders in the criminal justice system as a means of reducing recidivism and achieving offender rehabilitation through treatment. An offender’s consent to treatment may affect decisions about diversion from the criminal justice system, sentence or parole, and so hope for a preferable treatment in the criminal justice system may influence the offender’s consent. This thematic analysis of three focus group interviews conducted in Canada with members of the public investigates how the public views the use of biomedical treatments within the criminal justice system, and the practice of encouraging offender consent to biomedical treatment through the hope of a reduced criminal sentence. The public focus group discussions followed a semi-structured interview guide, and were based on two hypothetical case examples involving individuals choosing whether to consent to a range of cocaine addiction or anti-libidinal treatments respectively in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence. The discussions covered a wide range of themes, and here we present the participants’ evaluations of this type of biomedical treatment offer in light of three key theoretical sentencing objectives: the promotion of public safety, the infliction of retributive punishment, and the rehabilitation of offenders. We conclude that public safety was the predominant concern of the participants when evaluating biomedical treatment offered at the time of sentencing to offenders who had committed serious crimes. Another important observation was that the public tended to reframe and evaluate biomedical interventions in terms of retribution and punishment, rather than rehabilitation and reform.

Keywords

Criminal justice Rehabilitation Retribution Public safety Thematic analysis Biocriminology 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

References

  1. 1.
    Rocque, Michael, Brandon C. Welsh, and Adrian Raine. 2015. Policy implications of biosocial criminology: Crime prevention and offender rehabilitation. In The nurture versus biosocial debate in criminology: On the origins of criminal behavior and criminality, ed. K.M. Beaver, J.C. Barnes, and B.B. Boutwell, 431–466. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grasso, Anthony. 2017. Broken beyond repair: Rehabilitative penology and American political development. Political Research Quarterly 70 (2): 394–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cornet, L.J., et al. 2015. Neurobiological changes after intervention in individuals with anti-social behaviour: A literature review. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health 25: 10–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ginsberg, Ylva, Niklas Långström, Henrik Larsson, and Paul Lichtenstein. 2013. ADHD and criminality: Could treatment benefit prisoners with ADHD who are at higher risk of reoffending. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 13 (4): 345–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chandler, Jennifer A. 2014. Legally-coerced consent to treatment in the criminal justice system. In Power and the psychiatric apparatus: Repression, transformation and assistance, ed. D. Holmes, A. Perron, and J.D. Jacob, 199–216. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R v K.O 2013 ONSC 955.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stephen, James H., et al. 2012. Deep brain stimulation compared with methadone maintenance for the treatment of heroin dependence: A threshold and cost-effectiveness analysis. Addiction, 107 (3): 624–634.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gao, Guodong, and Xuelian Wang. 2015. Stereotactic neurosurgery for drug addiction. In Neurosurgical treatments for psychiatric disorders, ed. S. Bomin and A. De Salles, 161–173. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hall, Wayne, and Lucy Carter. 2004. Ethical issues in using a cocaine vaccine to treat and prevent cocaine abuse and dependence. Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (4): 337–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Day, Andrew, Kylie Tucker, and Kevin Howells. 2004. Coerced offender rehabilitation - a defensible practice? Psychology, Crime & Law 10 (3): 259–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shaw, Elizabeth. 2015. The use of brain interventions in offender rehabilitation programs: Should it be mandatory, voluntary or prohibited? In Handbook of Neuroethics, ed. J. Clausen and N. Levy, 1381–1398. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pugh, Jonathan, and Thomas Douglas. 2016. Neurointerventions as criminal rehabilitation: An ethical review. In Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics, eds. J. Jacobs and J. Jackson, ch. 6. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Greely, Henry T. 2012. Direct brain interventions to “treat” disfavoured human behaviors: Ethical and social issues. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 91: 163–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 718.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    R v Lyons, [1987] 2 SCR 309, 44 DLR (4th) 193.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    R v Smith, [1987] 1 SCR 1045, 40 DLR (4th) 435.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Strong, Kimberly, Wendy Lipworth, and Ian Kerridge. 2010. The strengths and limitations of empirical bioethics. Journal of Law and Medicine 18 (2): 319–326.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Roberts, Julian. 2005. Literature review on public opinion and corrections: Recent findings in Canada. Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Roberts, Julian, et al. 2012. Public opinion towards the lay magistracy and the sentencing council guidelines. British Journal of Criminology 52: 1072–1091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Francis T. Cullen, Jennifer A. Pealer, Bonnie S. Fisher, Brandon K. Applegate, and Shannon A. Santana 2002. Public support for correctional rehabilitation in America: Change or consistency? In Changing attitudes to punishment, ed. J. Roberts and M. Hough, 128–147. Devon: Willan.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mascini, Peter, and Dick Houtman. 2006. Rehabilitation and repression: Assessing their ideological embeddedness. British Journal of Criminology 46: 822–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Rogers, Darrin, and Christopher Ferguson. 2011. Punishment and rehabilitation attitudes toward sex offenders versus nonsexual offenders. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 20: 395–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bousfield, N. Kate, Alana N. Cook, and Ronald Roesch. 2014. Evidence-based criminal justice policy for Canada: An exploratory study of public opinion and the perspective of mental health and legal professionals. Canadian Psychology 55 (3): 204–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Varma, Kimberly, and Voula Marinos. 2013. Three decades of public attitudes research on crime and punishment in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 55: 549–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11, s 12.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Braun, Virginia, and Victoria Clarke. 2012. Thematic analysis. In APA handbook of research methods in psychology, Vol 2: Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological, ed. H. Cooper et al., 57–71. Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Braun, Virginia, Victoria Clarke, and Nicola Rance. 2015. How to use thematic analysis with interview data. In The counselling and psychotherapy research handbook, ed. A. Vossler and N. Moller. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Braun, Virginia, and Victoria Clarke. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3: 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Falco, Diana, and Noelle Turner. 2014. Examining causal attributions towards crime on support for offender rehabilitation. American Journal of Criminal Justice 39: 630–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Marinos, Voula. 2005. Thinking about penal equivalents. Punishment and Society 7 (4): 441–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sims, Barbara. 2003. The impact of causal attribution on correctional ideology: A national study. Criminal Justice Review 28: 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Cheung, Benjamin Y., and Steven J. Heine. 2014. The double-edged sword of genetic accounts of criminality: Causal attributions from genetic ascriptions affect legal decision making. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 41 (12): 1723–1738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Scurich, Nicholas, and Paul Appelbaum. 2016. The blunt-edged sword: Genetic explanations of misbehavior neither mitigate nor aggravate punishment. Journal of Law and the Biosciences 3: 140–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Fuss, Johannes, Harald Dressing, and Peer Briken. 2015. Neurogenetic evidence in the courtroom: A randomized, controlled trial with German judges. Journal of Medical Genetics 52: 730–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shariff, Azim F., Joshua D. Greene, Johan C. Karremans, Jamie B. Luguri, Cory J. Clark, Jonathan W. Schooler, Roy F. Baumeister, and Kathleen D. Vohs. 2014. Free will and punishment: A mechanistic view of human nature reduces retribution. Psychological Science 25: 1563–1570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Aspinwall, Lisa G., Teneille R. Brown, and James Tabery. 2012. The double-edged sword: Does biomechanism increase or decrease judges’ sentencing of psychopaths? Science 337: 846–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Scurich, N., and P.S. Appelbaum. 2017. Behavioural genetics in criminal court. Nature Human Behavior 1 (11): 772–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gendreau, Paul, Claire Goggin, and Francis Cullen. 1999. The effects of prison sentences on recidivism. Ottawa: Public Works & Government Services Canada.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Cullen, Francis, Cheryl Lero Johnson, and Daniel Nagin. 2011. Prisons do not reduce recidivism: The high cost of ignoring science. The Prison Journal 91 (3): 48S–65S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Cullen, Francis, Bonnie Fisher, and Brandon Applegate. 2000. Public opinion about punishment and corrections. Crime and Justice 27: 1–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    McNeill, Fergus. 2014. Punishment as rehabilitation. In Encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice, ed. G. Bruinsma and D. Weisburd, 4195–4206. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Raynor, Peter, and Gwen Robinson. 2005. Rehabilitation, Crime and Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Robinson, Gwen. 2014. Rehabilitation. In Encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice, ed. G. Bruinsma and D. Weisburd, 4360–4370. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lewis, C.S. 1970. God in the dock. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Brown, Sarah. 1999. Public attitudes toward the treatment of sex offenders. Legal and Criminological Psychology 4: 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Farkas, Maryann, and Amy Stichman. 2002. Sex offender laws: Can treatment, punishment, incapacitation, and public safety be reconciled? Criminal Justice Review 27: 256–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ryberg, Jesper. 2015. Is coercive treatment of offenders morally acceptable? On the deficiency of the debate. Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4): 619–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Matthews, R. 2005. The myth of punitiveness. Theoretical Criminology 9 (2): 175–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    McNeill, Fergus. 2012. Four forms of ‘offender’ rehabilitation: Towards an interdisciplinary perspective. Legal and Criminal Psychology 17 (1): 18–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ward, Tony, and Chelsea Rose. 2013. Punishment and the rehabilitation of sex offenders: An ethical maelstrom. In The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of legal and ethical aspects of sex offender treatment, ed. K. Harrison and B. Rainey, 271–286. West Sussex: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Glaser, Bill. 2009. Treaters or punishers? The ethical role of mental health clinicians in sex offender programs. Aggression and Violent Behavior 14: 248–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Glaser, Bill. 2010. Sex offender programs: New technology coping with old ethics. Journal of Sexual Aggression 16: 261–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Prescott, David S., and Jill S. Levenson. 2010. Sex offender treatment is not punishment. Journal of Sexual Aggression 16: 275–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Ward, Tony. 2010. Is offender rehabilitation a form of punishment? The British Journal of Forensic Practice 12: 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Hall, Wayne and Jane Lucke. 2010. Legally Coerced Treatment for Drug Using Offenders: Ethical and Policy Issues. NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Crime and Justice Bulletin, Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice 144: 1–12.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Bomann-Larsen, Lene. 2013. Voluntary rehabilitation? On neurotechnological behavioural treatment, valid consent and (in)appropriate offers. Neuroethics 6: 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Focquaert, Farah. 2014. Mandatory neurotechnological treatment: Ethical issues. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (1): 59–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    McMillan, John. 2014. The kindest cut? Surgical castration, sex offenders and coercive offers. Journal of Medical Ethics 40: 583–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Specker, Jona, et al. 2017. Forensic practitioners’ expectations and moral views regarding neurobiological interventions in offenders with mental disorders. BioSocieties 13 (1): 304–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Caplan, Arthur. 2006. Ethical issues surrounding forced, mandated, or coerced treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 31: 117–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Shaw, Elizabeth. 2014. Direct brain interventions and responsibility enhancement. Criminal Law and Philosophy 8: 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Templeton, Laura, and Timothy Hartnagel. 2012. Causal attributions of crime and the public's sentencing goals. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 54 (1): 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Ottawa, Centre for Health Law, Policy and EthicsOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations