Psychopathy Is a Necessary Study for the Criminal System Essay

Psychopathy Is a Necessary Study for the Criminal System Essay

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Psychopathy, in both the mental health and criminal justice systems, has emerged as one of the most important clinical constructs of the 21st century (Hare, Clark, Grann, & Thornton, 2000, p. 623). Where clinically, psychopathy is traditionally described as a combination of inferred socially deviant behaviors and personality traits. Some traits and behaviors a psychopath is seen to possess are commonly known, for example, to being impulsive, selfish, aggressive, lacking remorse, shame, feeling for others, pathologically lying, and having asocial or antisocial behaviors (Hare, & Neumann, 2006, p. 59-60). One of the reasons as to why psychopathy has come to see an increase in the development of its theoretical and applied interest is the widespread adoption of valid and reliable methods in its measurements (Hare et al., 2000, p. 623). This being largely due to Dr. Robert D. Hare’s recent assessment tool for psychopathy called the Hare Psychopath Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) (Hare et al., 2000, p. 623). Most of the research dealing with psychopathy thus far has been based on North American samples of forensic psychiatric patients and criminal offenders (Hare et al., 2000, p. 623).
In this essay, I will use the PCL-R as an assessment tool to classify Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, as a psychopath. I will do this by first discussing Hare’s PCL-R and its strengths and then point to specific traits and behaviors described in the PCL-R, that are seen in Ted Bundy from accounts of his personal and criminal life, to demonstrate that Bundy was a psychopath.
Hare’s Psychopath Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) has provided clinicians and researchers with a common metric system for the assessment of psychopat...


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...ud, Aynesworth, & Bundy, 2000, p. 28). Bundy also felt no remorse for his murder victims, has in several cases, he took trophies of his kills, by beheading his victim’s corpses with a hacksaw, or removing the hands to keep in his home (Ramsland, 2013, p. 21).
All in all, if Ted Bundy had been assessed for psychopathy using Hare’s PCL-R, when he was on trail for his crimes, in just the few traits and behaviors that were seen prominently in his life, he could have definitely fallen into the category of a psychopath. If he had been identified as a psychopath, evidence suggests that being diagnosed with psychopathy may result in harsher judicial sentencing or may even be used to justify imposition of the death penalty rather than a life sentence (Fine & Kennett, 2004, p. 425). However, even without this diagnosis, Ted Bundy was still sentenced to death for his crimes.

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