The latest neuroscience research is shows evidence that the brains of certain kinds of criminals are different from those of the rest of us. This raises the main moral question of our future: If we discover someone with a "criminal brain," should we incarcerate them BEFORE they commit a crime, in order to protect society?
Many criminals are sociopaths–people with antisocial personality disorder–and their brain scans usually show a smaller-than-average middle frontal lobe, which is the area of that produces remorse and guilt. In LiveScience.com, Clara Moskowitz quotes criminologist Adrian Raine as saying, "There is a neuroscience basis in part to the cause of crime. Yet is that not a slippery slope to Armageddon where there’s no responsibility in society?" Brain imaging has been used to reduce the sentence of a man who killed his wife: When brain scans revealed a large cyst in the frontal cortex of Herbert Weinstein’s brain, his sentence was reduced to only 11 years in prison.
One of the sad realities is that in the US, jails have become the new asylums. Deinstitutionalization and the "War on Drugs," two failed national social policy initiatives of the last 50 years, are in large measure responsible for jails again being termed the new asylums as they have once again filled with mentally ill men and women, and Mentally ill women have become the most invisible of females in the justice system, outnumbering mentally ill male offenders in jails and prisons
On TV cop shows, we’re used to seeing the "good cop, bad cop" scenario, where the first interrogator gives a criminal a rough time, then the second one comes in and shows sympathy, which elicits a confession. Forensic psychologist Michel St-Yves says, "Confessions mostly rely on how the interrogation is conducted and it’s nothing short of an art form." In the real world, when evidence is strong, the confession rate increases. However, when the evidence the police have is weak, they’ve learned that they’re more likely to get a confession if the suspect has guilty feelings, is single at the time of the interrogation (thus no worries about what incarceration will do to wives and kids), has prior convictions and was convicted in the past for a more serious crime.
And in a strange twist, it turns out that men and women who have had contact with the criminal justice system–even if they have NEVER received a jail or prison sentence or a guilty verdict–are much more likely to commit suicide (so maybe they do eventually fell guilt, after all). Do YOU feel guilty for visiting our website every day, but not supporting it? There’s simply no excuse for this, since you can now subscribe for a month for less than $5, and the ONLY way to make sure we’ll be here tomorrow is to subscribe today!
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