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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