Popular television programs have led juries and the public to expect hard evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and other forensic evidence clearly pointing to perpetrators, but the facts are seldom so clear-cut.
According to Greg Little, an experienced psychologist who specializes in criminal treatment, the main problem is that there are so many crimes occurring and the system is clogged with huge numbers of offenders. There is no way that the system can do what the public now expects on each case,
Along with his colleagues, Little has issued a new textbook on the way the justice system treats offenders. Most offenders are diagnosable with a criminal personality, known as antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
ASPD is the professional term for psychopath or sociopath, Little explains. About 4 percent of the adult population has the disorder, with adult men showing a rate of nearly 6 percent.
The disorder has a severity scale with a wide range of behavior. The less severe ones lie, cheat and take advantage; the most severe are violent and resort to murder. If you look out your front door and see five other houses, chances are that there is a psychopath living in at least one house.
In Little’s book “Antisocial Personality Disorder and Criminal Justice,” the extent of the problem in America is made clear. Nearly 15 million arrests are made in America each year, but jails house only 800,000 individuals awaiting trial.
Prisons hold another 1.5 million people, but 5 million other convicted criminals are living in the community under parole or probation. Within three years, about 40 percent of probationers will be arrested again. After release from prison, an astonishing 67 percent will be rearrested.
According to Little and colleagues, society should not give up on offenders, nor should it be discouraged by the way the justice system handles crime. For more information, go to www.ccimrt.com.