Dixon, Jar. Kook PC-R or psychopathic Checklist- Revised to see if he was a psychopath. A state psychologist evaluated him whether he would likely to commit future crimes after his release. He scored high that he was then categorized as one (Spiegel). Labeling a “psychopath” is highly systematizing and can have an impact on how a jury or a parole board view the offender. The PC-R may have a strong predictive power in risk assessments and evaluations of recidivism to Sexually Violent Predators (Demitted & Dens, 216). However, it is flawed and investigators and peccaries challenge the usefulness and reliability of this “checklist’.
PC-R should not be used solely to decide whether a prisoner is a psychopath or not. The problems with PC-R draw incorrect conclusions; it lacks reliability; and it poses high risks of misuse. In recent years, psychopath assessments have increasingly been used not just on research setting but also in the criminal justice system. This is to predict the possibility of an offender’s potential risk for future recidivism (Demitted et a’, 97). Dry. Robert Hare formulated PC;R or Psychopathic Checklist-Revised in the early nineties, which consists of 20 items symptom rating scale.
This allows qualified examiners to assess a person’s degree of psychopath including “lack of conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violation of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and history of victimizing others” (Demitted & Dens, 217). This psychological assessment is used in Canada, U. S. , and European countries during parole hearings, death penalty sentencing, civil commitment, termination of parental rights, competency to stand trial, and guilt determination (Walsh & Walsh, 98).
According to the PC-R manual, each item is rated on a 3-point scale: O = item does not apply; 1 = item applies to a certain extent; 2 = item applies. An examinees score ranges between O and 40 based on the interview and data (Dens, 1084). Anyone that score greater than or equal to 30 is classified as a “psychopath”. Although Dry. Hare concludes that psychopath is untreatable, an overwhelming research challenges his conclusion. Most of psychopathic traits listed on the checklist are overlapping with antisocial behavior and Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder or DADS (Cooke et al, 40).
In contrast with Hare’s suggestion that ‘criminal psychopaths’ are untreatable, a clinical study in New Zealand appears promising. According to Wilson and Teammate, the High-Risk Personality Program (HARP) was based on a review of intensive treatment for DADS and was designed to target behaviors functionally linked to violent offending (Wilson, Teammate 496). The program was conducted over a 44-week period with one-hour of individual therapy session and two-hour group therapy session with the help of experienced clinical psychologist employed by the Department of Corrections (498).
Subjects’ exposure to over 450 hours of direct psychological intervention has changed their violent behavior driven by reactive and explosive aggression. HARP outcome appear promising suggesting that psychopathic offenders appear to benefit from correctional program, but they may also further their benefit from purpose built interventions designed to target specific features (505). Moreover, aggressive behavior is regarded as symptomatic behavior of psychopathic disorders and assumed untreatable.
Nevertheless, aggressive behaviors are not the same – one could be either impulsive or compulsive ND continuous therapy sessions demonstrated positive results (Flophouse, 404). The treatment was successful mostly because of favorable circumstances such as friendship, confrontation, maturation, and impressive events, experienced therapist who apprehend the problems of psychopaths, and a combination of psychotherapy, neurological treatment and psychosocial counseling (Eggshell, 446). Proponents of PC-R claimed that it is a consistent in predicting outcome such as recidivism, aggressive behavior and serious institutional misconduct.
The PC-R comprises two correlated factors namely Factor 1 and Factor 2. Factor 1 taps the interpersonal and affective personality (egocentricity, callousness, lack of guilt, empathy) while Factor 2 indexes chronic antisocial and unstable behaviors such as impulsively, pattern of antisocial and criminal behavior, poorly regulated and unstable lifestyle (Cooke et al. , 41). Using 9 tools to test the efficacy of violence prediction including PC-R which was designed for assessing personality construct, Yang et al. Monstrance from their finding with PC;R overlaps with another tool which implicate inconsistencies (759). Furthermore, it is not clear as to whether its prediction efficient and should be credited more to Factor 1 or to Factor 2. Only OGRES (Offenders Group Reconvention Scale) and HCI-20 (Historical, Clinical, Risk Management-20) were found to predict better than PC-R that was ranked last (761). Several researchers, have measured psychopath among non-institutionalized samples such as students or adolescent population and psychopath among them was expected to be low.
False positive rate was found in it is strikingly high. These false positives are those who score above the threshold but they do not commit a violent act or ail to display other traits that were supposed to be predicted with recidivism (Demitted et al. , 102). The PC-R can be misused and misrepresented in legal settings. John Dens presented two case examples demonstrating different misuses. Case 1 involved a offender charged with numerous capital murders and was assessed by examiners using PC-R without an interview (1086).
In the psychologist testimony included assumptions that the defendant was likely to involve in future violence even though he was kept in a 23-hour-per- day Lockwood facility for the remainder of his life. The psychologist testimony hat was based on unsupported opinion inferences from test score is unethical and should engage responsibility to do no harm. In Case 2, a psychiatrist and psychologist assessed numbers of psychometric test on the defendant (including his current wife) who was charged with several counts of sexual assault one of his teenage children (defendant’s ex-wife daughter) several years ago.
Dens illustrates that the expert witnesses “drew conclusion that are in no way supported by the existing empirical literature regarding the relationship between psychopath and sexual violence (1088). ” These experts pointed out that PC-R checklist has less to do with the prediction of incest itself. Research also indicates that an investigator assigned by prosecution would score the person in question higher by 8 points than when defense assigns their own investigator to assess the defendant (Demitted et al. , 101).
Finally, Some of Hare’s Checklist are hardly measurable and to speculative and indicative. For example, how are glibness and superficial charm be measured in an objective and reliable way? How does the investigator know if the charm of a particular patient is apparent enough to be obsessive? There are list of traits such as shallow effect and callousness that Hare failed to define these terms precisely in such a way that can be tested in scientific way and lacked clarity about the structure of the test (Cooke et al. , 39).
PC-R was exclusively used for research purposes until its predictive ability made the test potentially useful outside the lab. In the past 20 years researchers, have conducted extensive experiential research with the PC-R among incarcerated and institutionalized samples. PC-R played a significant role in predicting sexually violent predators on recidivism. This risk assessment tool has made an impact to the forensic and criminal justice arena, such as parole hearing and death penalty cases. Problems arose when it was used improperly.