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Cosmetic Psychopharmacology for Prisoners: Reducing Crime and Recidivism Through Cognitive Intervention

Neuroethics, December 2015, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 315-326

33 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2015  

Adam B. Shniderman

University of Michigan Law School

Lauren B. Solberg

University of Florida College of Medicine

Date Written: November 13, 2015

Abstract

Criminologists have long acknowledged the link between a number of cognitive deficits, including low intelligence and impulsivity, and crime. A new wave of research has demonstrated that pharmacological intervention can restore or improve cognitive function, particularly executive function (including the inhibition of impulsive response), and restore neural plasticity. Such restoration and improvement can allow for easier acquisition of new skills and as a result, presents significant possibilities for the criminal justice system. For example, studies have shown that supplements of Omega-3, a fatty acid commonly found in food such as tuna, can decrease frequency of violent incidents in an incarcerated population. Research has also begun to explore the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to reduce impulsivity in some violent offenders. However, there are significant legal and ethical implications when moving from dietary supplements to prescription pharmaceuticals and medical devices for cognitive intervention. This paper will explore the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of pharmacological intervention on prisoners as an effort to reduce crime and recidivism.

Keywords: Prisoners; Crime; Biomedical Enhancement; Cognitive Enhancers

Suggested Citation

Shniderman, Adam B. and Solberg, Lauren B., Cosmetic Psychopharmacology for Prisoners: Reducing Crime and Recidivism Through Cognitive Intervention (November 13, 2015). Neuroethics, December 2015, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 315-326. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2690634

Adam B. Shniderman (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Lauren B. Solberg

University of Florida College of Medicine ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

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