Why are people bad: Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS)

Working in criminal forensic psychology, a lot of attention is devoted to the role of psychosis in criminal offenses. In Hawaii law, based on the Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute, a person is not criminally responsible (insane) when their cognitive and/or volitional capacities were substantially impaired by a physical or mental disease, disorder, or defect, at the time of the offense.  These are state of mind at the time of the offense (MSO) evaluations. In Hawaii felony cases, a panel of three independent examiners evaluates the defendant and reports to the court. Until recently, my orientation has been mentally ill individuals who commit criminal acts. But many mentally ill defendants have extensive criminal histories. They are mentally ill offenders. I just discovered a fine new tool called The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS) which I am adding to my toolbox. It is an 80-item self-report measure designed to assess 8 thinking styles hypothesized to support and maintain a criminal lifestyle. In all risk assessments, criminal thinking and exposure to criminal environments heightens recidivistic risk factor.

Reference: Walters, G.D. (2006). The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS) Professional Manual.  Allentown, PA: Center for Lifestyle Studies. Available from author: gwalters@bop.gov.


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