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Remorse in psychotic violent offenders: an overvalued idea?

Dandawate, Akshita, Kalebic, Natasha, Padfield, Nicola, Craissati, Jackie and Taylor, Pamela J. 2019. Remorse in psychotic violent offenders: an overvalued idea? Behavioral Sciences and the Law 37 (5) , pp. 579-588. 10.1002/bsl.2428

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Expressing remorse – or not – appears to influence criminal justice outcomes, but preliminary exploration of both judicial and psychological concepts suggests they lack clarity. We asked the following questions: does psychosis impair capacity for, or expression of, remorse for a homicide or other serious harm to others? Is failure to express remorse for an offence associated with recidivism? We conducted systematic reviews of empirical literature on remorse for serious violence while psychotic, and on relationships between remorse and reoffending regardless of mental state. No articles on remorse for homicide or other serious violence while psychotic were identified. There is weak evidence that lack of remorse is associated with reoffending generally, but nothing specific to psychosis. The literature is strong enough to support a case for research into valid measurement of remorse for offending, associations of such measures with recidivism, and whether a change in remorse can be effected – or matters. It is not strong enough to support reliance on perceptions of the presence or absence of remorse as a basis for judicial decisions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Wiley: 12 months
ISSN: 0735-3936
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 31 July 2019
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 18:02

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