Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NPR series on psychopathy in court

This Thursday and Friday, NPR is airing a 2-part series about the controversial use of psychopathy in court.

In Part I on All Things Considered, psychology and science reporter Alix Spiegel shows the profound negative consequences of psychopathy on the lives of those so designated. She profiles a California prisoner whose friends and family do not believe he is a psychopath, but who will likely never win parole due to that label.

Part II (on Friday) examines the history of the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) and explores how it became so entrenched in the criminal justice system. Dan Murrie’s research questioning the reliability of the PCL in adversarial contexts is highlighted. Robert Hare also expresses concerns about the way his tool is being used in court, and the corrupting influences of the adversarial system.

The show will be complemented by an online debate, “Does the PCL-R test have value in the criminal justice system?” I am one of the featured experts on the panel, so I hope some of you will visit the website; I will provide a link just as soon as it goes live.

For those of you who would rather tune in once, the show is also airing as a single piece on Friday on the radio program This American Life, and you will be able to download the podcast there as well.


Part I of the 2-part series is HERE; the online debate is HERE.

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