Power, Anger, and Sadistic Rapists and other articles in the latest issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

fearThe August 2008 issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (Vol. 52, No. 4) is out, and contains (as usual) an interesting range of articles.

Here’s one that will be of particlar interest to those interested in psychological profiling of offenders – the theory that particular types of offending behaviour may be associated with particular personality traits. In discussing a Differentiated Model of Offender Personality, Angela Pardue and Bruce A. Arrigo wisely steer clear of the tricky issue of whether the personality characteristics of unknown offenders can be inferred from behavioural and crime scene data (see Alison et al., 2002) but instead explore the relevance of classifying rapists to “effective diagnosis, treatment, and prevention” (p.385). They explain that although several ‘rapist typologies’ exist, such typologies simply describe the type of offending behaviour and

“missing from the literature on rape offenders is any coherent classification schema that describes the personality structure and operation (i.e., profile) of these different, although related, forms of sexual offending (Douglas et al., 2006). Thus, although researchers agree that the tactics and behaviors of rapist types differ, no single taxonomy has been developed that adequately accounts for personality properties” (p.384).

They use a case study method to demonstrated how such a taxonomy might be developed, through a detailed analysis of the offending behaviours and personality characteristics of three well-known offenders: Gilbert Escobedo, Paul Bernardo and Jeffrey Dahmer. They conclude:

Admittedly, the [three case study] analysis is limited in scope and is not generalizable to a larger sample of rapists… [But] the findings from this heuristically oriented case study inquiry suggest that rapists are a heterogeneous group who must be studied as such. Consequently, additional investigations on rapist types and personality composition should be undertaken. This includes the construction of theoretical frameworks and the development of classification taxonomies that lead to empirical analyses (p.397).


Also in this issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology:

  • Ron Langevin and Suzanne Curnoe – Are the Mentally Retarded and Learning Disordered Overrepresented Among Sex Offenders and Paraphilics?
  • Tomer Einat and Amela Einat – Learning Disabilities and Delinquency: A Study of Israeli Prison Inmates
  • Eric L. Sevigny and Phyllis D. Coontz – Patterns of Substance Involvement and Criminal Behavior: A Gender-Based Cluster Analysis of Pennsylvania Arrestees
  • Mally Shechory and Avital Laufer – Social Control Theory and the Connection With Ideological Offenders Among Israeli Youth During the Gaza Disengagement Period
  • Connie Ireland and Bruce Berg – Women in Parole: Respect and Rapport

Photo credit: “Medo / Fear” by xaimex, Creative Commons License