Treating the Criminal Psychopath? Past, Present and Future

Posted: 16 May 2010

Date Written: May 14, 2010


Psychopaths constitute less than 1% of the general population, but they commit over 30% of the violent crime in our society and do an estimated $250-400 billion dollars in societal costs each year. Hence, they pose a central problem for the criminal justice system. Over 200 years of clinical research suggests that individuals with psychopathy are resistant to treatment. Indeed, studies indicate that some forms of treatment may even increase rates of violent recidivism in individuals with psychopathy compared to not treating them at all. However, recent studies have made progress in treating individuals with psychopathy and modern neuroscience research is posed to help us further refine treatment regimes. This later work will be reviewed and summarized.

Suggested Citation

Kiehl, Kent, Treating the Criminal Psychopath? Past, Present and Future (May 14, 2010). Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2010: Law, Institutions & Human Behavior. Available at SSRN:

Kent Kiehl (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

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