Merciless: Psychopathic Criminals And How The Criminal Justice System Can Protect Us From Them

Student: Dilara Gingerich
Mentor: John Durst (OWU Department of Sociology-Anthropology)

For my presentation, I will discuss an independent study I did with Dr. Durst in the Fall of 2018, in which I wrote about psychopaths and ways the criminal justice system (CJS) can protect society from them. I will first briefly define psychopathy and explain the personality traits associated with it. I will dedicate the rest of my time to explaining ways I believe the CJS can use information about psychopathy to protect society from criminals with that condition.

Psychopathy is a subtype of antisocial personality disorder (APD) that is characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse, manipulative and deceitful behavior, shallow emotions and antisocial behavior. It is believed to be diagnosable in 15-30% of U.S prisoners. Due to their skills at manipulation, psychopaths have a keen ability to manipulate the CJS and attain early release, parole, etc. The suggestions I will put forward aim to prevent this. They include: requiring psychological evaluations for certain offenders as part of the sentencing and parole processes, requiring training on the subject for CJS officials, and allowing longer sentences for certain crimes.

By presenting, I am not suggesting that I have all the answers to the problem discussed or that policies and laws should be based on my ideas alone. But I do believe that the CJS has not done enough to prevent psychopathic crime and that this is a major flaw. I also believe that it is of great importance that they address it as public safety depends on it.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3075

OWU Connection Programs
Merrick Hall