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10002075
Psychopathic Disorders and Judges Sentencing: Can Neurosciences Change This Aggravating Factor in a Mitigating Factor?
Abstract:
Psychopathic disorders are taking an important part in judge sentencing, especially in Canada. First, we will see how this phenomenon can be illustrated by the high proportion of psychopath offenders incarcerated in North American prisons. Many decisions in Canadians courtrooms seem to point out that psychopathy is often used as a strong argument by the judges to preserve public safety. The fact that psychopathy is often associated with violence, recklessness and recidivism, could explain why many judges consider psychopathic disorders as an aggravating factor. Generally, the judge reasoning is based on Article 753 of Canadian Criminal Code related to dangerous offenders, which is used for individuals who show a pattern of repetitive and persistent aggressive behaviour. Then we will show how, with cognitive neurosciences, the psychopath’s situation in courtrooms would probably change. Cerebral imaging and news data provided by the neurosciences show that emotional and volitional functions in psychopath’s brains are impaired. Understanding these new issues could enable some judges to recognize psychopathic disorders as a mitigating factor. Finally, two important questions ought to be raised in this article: can exploring psychopaths ‘brains really change the judge sentencing in Canadian courtrooms? If yes, can judges consider psychopathy more as a mitigating factor than an aggravating factor?
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References:

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