Psychopaths more likely to get out of jail

You would think parole boards would know better. After all, they deal with bad guys all day, every day, and they’re supposed to decide when criminals are sufficiently rehabilitated to return to society. But a study released in January found that when psychopaths in Canada’s prisons were up for parole, they were 2.5 times more likely to win conditional release than non-psychopaths.

The study was conducted by Dr. Stephen Porter from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and published in the Journal of Legal and Criminological Psychology. It looked at 310 men who spent at least two years in a Canadian prison between 1995 and 1997. Most had committed violent crimes.

Ninety of the men were classified as psychopaths. They had committed significantly more offenses than the non-psychopaths. The psychopathic child abusers among them had far more charges and convictions than non-psychopathic offenders.

Yet the psychopaths won the get-out-of-jail-free card much more often than ordinary criminals.

“Despite their long and diverse criminal records and much higher risk posed to the community, psychopaths appear to be able to convince decision-makers throughout the correctional system that they can be reintegrated into society successfully,” Dr. Porter wrote.

Oscar award winning performances

How did they do it? Charm and crocodile tears. The researcher said they put on a good show.

“They use non-verbal behavior, a ‘gift of gab,’ and persuasive emotional displays to put on an Oscar award winning performance and move through the correctional system and ultimately parole boards relatively quickly, despite their known diagnosis.”

And apparently, it wasn’t just the members of the parole boards who were fooled—it was everyone who had any input into the parole decision.

“I don’t want to pick on the (National) Parole Board,” Porter said in an interview. “The parole board gets all kinds of information therapy reports and case management reports and so on. So psychopaths are probably putting on a good show for everyone.”

What happened after the psychopaths won their freedom? They committed another crime. On average, they offended again and were returned to prison after one year, compared with two years for non-psychopaths.

Let’s not berate ourselves

Dr. Porter says that the parole boards and psychologists need help in dealing with psychopaths.

“We need to acknowledge that training in this area is essential and that objective file information is much more reliable than trying to assess performance in an interview context,” he said.

So here’s the conclusion for us survivors: We should never again berate ourselves for falling for a psychopath. After all, the professionals who dealt with these predators every day, and had access to their criminal files, were just as clueless as we were.

For more information on this study, see:

BBC: Psychopaths’ ”˜early release con’

Ottawa Citizen: Psychopaths use charm, lies to fool parole officials

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55 Comments on "Psychopaths more likely to get out of jail"

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In my world everyone know that the parole offices, solicitors and jail wardens are a thriving hive of psychopaths. I. E. There are lots and lots of psychopaths working there.
Thats why it was a pleasure to read “abuse by legal system” and the ” loss by deception”.
I haven’t heard it named so succinctly before. Just naming it helps. After having suffered the devastating abuse at the hands of n’s, s and psycopaths, that we all know only too well on this site,for a lifetime, to have it all done again by the legal system is terrifying, to say the least.
I am going through it for the second time. Suffice it to say, it is easier the second time around because one knows the landmines and where they are set. But walking around them is just as tricky, and who knows what the outcome will be?
Well I do, because I am a living, breathing, walking outcome of this exact diagnosis. PTSD and all.
The outcome is that I will lose everything yet again. Financially, spiritually, emotionally and physically. And of course no-one will believe me, and those who do live in a fantasy web-site a million miles away.
I believe Aileen Wournos was simply a victim of a lifetime of abuse at the hands of psychopaths. She said it at her trial, ” Kill me, hate runs through my veins now, it can’t be changed, it is too late I will kill again, I have lost all faith in all of humanity, I want to die, I I hope you all get raped repeatedly.”
I havn’t killed or committed a crime or ever been a prostitute, but I identify with her totally.

Dear Tilly,

I am so sorry to hear that you can “identify” with this woman…and yes, we do get “raped repeatedly” by first the P and then the “system.” Tilly, we DO BELIEVE YOU and we identify with your pain, because we also have suffered it…unfortunately, each of us has “been through the fire” of that pain. Same church, different pew! Many of us have felt as if we were literally in HELL ON EARTH….and there was not much chance of getting out.

Many times my heart and soul were filled with hate for those that had abused me, used me, discarded me….even my own family, who are SUPPOSED to love me. Supposed to be trustworthy, but weren’t.

It has been a battle fighting out of the abyss, without becoming like Aileen, but I care too much for myself to become a monster myself. Sometimes that “vision” I had for survival and for living again was DIM and VERY far away, but I kept on CRAWLING toward that light in the tunnel…God bless you, Tilly, keep going even when you must crawl over broken glass on your hands and knees, there IS A BRIGHT GOOD LIFE AT THE END OF THAT TUNNEL OF PAIN AND HATE. ((((hugs))))) and all my prayers for your peace.

Housie –

I am sorry I missed your earlier response to my post. I get busy, sometimes do not get on this every day.

Wow! 17 years and then Thanksgiving 2008. We had a “reconcile” that very weekend. All BS. All about priming me to pay off a debt, and keeping something of mine. Understand how, even with all the reading, you fell back in. If mine showed up tomorrow, the same could happen.

But he won’t. I have too much LE around me, he won’t take the chance. I do fear, as I said on another thread, that Jane was pulled back into the vortex, though she had met a wonderful guy. I fear she dumped for the S.

Jane! It’s OK! I understand (if you’re reading this — I told her about it). I still love you!

I don’t think the court appointed counselors really “grock” this syndrome. It’s like AA, the recovering alcoholics are better than the PhD counselors, and the recovering drug addicts likewise. Nobody can understand it like another who has been through it, that’s why I think Donna should get the Nobel Prize in medicine.

But it won’t happen. Because we’d all have to “out” ourselves, and from the level of colloquy on this site there are some very successful people here who don’t need to be embarrassed.

Matt, you are really cool. I appreciate all of your input.

I can help on the system. We need more help than we are getting.

Be back tomorrow.

We cannot undo what happened to us, but we can protect the future victims of these monsters.

Anyway, Its too late for me to come out of my “abyss”, I am 54 and I don’t want to come out of it anyway. What for? To have it done again? I don’t think so. The only thing that would give me peace is the death of the last two psychopaths. Not one other thing.
But this site has been good for one thing, I always saw my adult kids as victims of the psychopath. But now after reading this site, I have had a big breakthrough. My oldest two ARE Psychopaths…der…She is 30 and he is 26. Their father was a murderer. I finally understand the genetic thing. I always thought they were like they were because of his inability to love.
I blamed myself because they were cruel to me. i.e. ARE cruel to me. So that’s two less knives in my heart immediately! Thank you for that…it only took me 30 years to work it out!
The worst part is, having studied up on it ten years ago and then falling in the trap again – twice. I can’t forgive myself or humanity for that.

P.S. I don’t see Aileen as a monster at all, but a victim of this horrific world full of psychopaths.

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