Forensic Case Histories: Understanding Serious Offending Behaviour in Men
What turns men into violent criminals and how should society deal with them? Can you ever trust a paedophile or release a murderer?
This excellent book presents various case studies and addresses issues relating to why men commit serious offences. The case studies are in-depth, authentic accounts of the experiences of men. It is written by a psychologist with extensive first-hand experience of forensic mental health services as a psychologist. There are case studies on the impact of a childhood spent in the care system, personality disorder and psychopathy, severe mental illness, pornography, and how the sexually abused child can become a perpetrator.
There is a very interesting chapter on offenders who never admit they have committed any crime or accept any responsibility. The accepted view is that they are unlikely to get early release because it is considered the risk of reoffending remains high. The author argues that denial can be a protective factor and does not necessarily suggest the person is a danger to the public.
Another chapter invites the reader to assume the role of risk analyst and shows how effectively this is achieved. This section has three scenarios, showing serious offenders, and we are asked to rank them as low-, medium- or high-risk.
The last chapter focuses on the impact on the practitioner, which looks honestly at what it is like to work in this field. This includes the reactions of dismay, appalled horror and anger any lawyer might also experience and also gives examples of how there can be humour even in the darkest place. The chapter also comments on inappropriate behaviour on the part of the professional and how it feels to get things wrong.
There are also suggestions for further reading. I hope a future edition might examine other areas such as women and serious offending.
This is a very open, honest and readable book that will be of interest to the criminal lawyer, and mental health and prison law practitioners.
David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury