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
Date Written: November 13, 2015
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
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