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The Popular Conception of the Psychopath: Implications for Criminal Justice Policy

Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Hines Academic Center 103

Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott is Professor and Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University. She is author of Criminal Behavior: Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice (2008. From 1997 to 2000, she was principal investigator of a prison-based encounter program at the Washington State Reformatory. She coordinated a prison art program called the “Creative Expressions Project” at the Washington Corrections Center for Women from 1993-1998 and at the Washington State Reformatory from 1993-2010 and currently teaches a course in the prisons called “Restorative Justice Behind Bars” which involves prisoners and university students who take the course together and engage in group projects.

Dr. Helfgott is involved in applied research as principal investigator on an evaluation of the Seattle Police Crisis Intervention Team/Mental Health Practitioner Pilot Project. She has served on the Advisory Board for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island that houses civilly committed sexually violent predators. She currently serves on the Seattle Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Committee (CIC) Executive Steering Committee and Data Outcomes Subcommittee.

Dr. Helfgott will discuss the scientific conception of psychopathy and researcher consensus on the definition and understanding of psychopathy with the development and widespread use of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. The popular conception of the psychopath is not so clear. The term is widely used in culture: films, television shows, true-crime novels, the news media, the Internet, and everyday conversation. The meaning of the word “psychopath” among the general public and how the popular conception of the psychopath influences criminal justice policy has not been empirically studied. Research presented suggests that the popular conception of psychopathy is inconsistent with the scientific conception and impacts citizen beliefs about criminal justice practice. Implications for criminal justice policy are discussed. Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Joy Pollock
Common Experience
Academic, Career, Health, Lectures
Faculty, General Interest, Staff, Undergraduate Students
The Popular Conception of the Psychopath: Implications for Criminal Justice Policy