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Concept: Criminology


Background Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that has been associated with criminal behavior in some studies. Pharmacologic treatment is available for ADHD and may reduce the risk of criminality. Methods Using Swedish national registers, we gathered information on 25,656 patients with a diagnosis of ADHD, their pharmacologic treatment, and subsequent criminal convictions in Sweden from 2006 through 2009. We used stratified Cox regression analyses to compare the rate of criminality while the patients were receiving ADHD medication, as compared with the rate for the same patients while not receiving medication. Results As compared with nonmedication periods, among patients receiving ADHD medication, there was a significant reduction of 32% in the criminality rate for men (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 0.73) and 41% for women (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.70). The rate reduction remained between 17% and 46% in sensitivity analyses among men, with factors that included different types of drugs (e.g., stimulant vs. nonstimulant) and outcomes (e.g., type of crime). Conclusions Among patients with ADHD, rates of criminality were lower during periods when they were receiving ADHD medication. These findings raise the possibility that the use of medication reduces the risk of criminality among patients with ADHD. (Funded by the Swedish Research Council and others.).

Concepts: Attention, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Crime, Conviction, Criminal law, Criminology, Stimulant, Crime statistics


We build an agent-based model of incarceration based on the susceptible-infected-suspectible (SIS) model of infectious disease propagation. Our central hypothesis is that the observed racial disparities in incarceration rates between Black and White Americans can be explained as the result of differential sentencing between the two demographic groups. We demonstrate that if incarceration can be spread through a social influence network, then even relatively small differences in sentencing can result in large disparities in incarceration rates. Controlling for effects of transmissibility, susceptibility and influence network structure, our model reproduces the observed large disparities in incarceration rates given the differences in sentence lengths for White and Black drug offenders in the USA without extensive parameter tuning. We further establish the suitability of the SIS model as applied to incarceration by demonstrating that the observed structural patterns of recidivism are an emergent property of the model. In fact, our model shows a remarkably close correspondence with California incarceration data. This work advances efforts to combine the theories and methods of epidemiology and criminology.

Concepts: Scientific method, Infectious disease, United States, Sociology, Theory, Criminology, Recidivism, Incarceration


Brain-activity markers of guilty knowledge have been promoted as accurate and reliable measures for establishing criminal culpability. Tests based on these markers interpret the presence or absence of memory-related neural activity as diagnostic of whether or not incriminating information is stored in a suspect’s brain. This conclusion critically relies on the untested assumption that reminders of a crime uncontrollably elicit memory-related brain activity. However, recent research indicates that, in some circumstances, humans can control whether they remember a previous experience by intentionally suppressing retrieval. We examined whether people could use retrieval suppression to conceal neural evidence of incriminating memories as indexed by Event-Related Potentials (ERPs). When people were motivated to suppress crime retrieval, their memory-related ERP effects were significantly decreased, allowing guilty individuals to evade detection. Our findings indicate that brain measures of guilty knowledge may be under criminals' intentional control and place limits on their use in legal settings.

Concepts: Neuroscience, Crime, Criminal law, Morality, Criminology, Criminal justice, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


Individuals with psychopathy have an increased tendency toward certain types of aggression. We hypothesized that successful psychopaths, who have no criminal convictions but can be diagnosed with psychopathy in terms of personality characteristics, are skilled at regulating aggressive impulses, compared to incarcerated unsuccessful psychopaths. Methods: In this block-designed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we sought to clarify the neural mechanisms underlying differences in frustration-induced aggression as a function of psychopathy in non-criminal populations. Twenty male undergraduate students who completed a self-report psychopathy questionnaire were scanned while they completed a task in which they either could or could not punish other individuals who made unfair offers of monetary distribution.

Concepts: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Sociology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Crime, Criminology, Antisocial personality disorder, Psychopathy, Hare Psychopathy Checklist


Child welfare clients represent a high-risk group for delinquency and adult criminality, but also for future suicidal behavior. We examine associations between delinquency and suicidal behavior in a national child welfare population. This register-based cohort study is based on data for all Swedish former child welfare clients born between 1972 and 1981 that experienced interventions before their adolescent years. We followed 27,228 individuals from age 20 years until 31 December 2006. Juvenile delinquency was defined as being convicted of at least one crime between age 15 and 19. The risk of suicidal behavior was calculated as incidence rate ratios (IRRs). Fifteen percent of the women and 40 % of the men had at least one conviction between the age 15 and 19. The adjusted risk of suicidal behavior among women with five or more convictions was 3.5 (95 % CI 2.0-6.2); corresponding IRR for men was 3.9 (95 % CI 3.1-4.9). Child welfare experience-specifically of out-of-home care-in combination with delinquency is a potent risk factor for suicidal behavior among young adults. However, we cannot exclude that some of this association is an epiphenomenon of uncontrolled confounders, such as impulsivity or severity of psychiatric disease. Despite this caveat, results should be disseminated to practitioners in the health and correction services.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Childhood, Crime, Conviction, Psychiatry, Criminology, Juvenile delinquency, Suicide


Hundreds of thousands of youth are held every year in U.S. juvenile justice detention centers and incarceration facilities. Increasingly it is known that these facility placements are at best ineffective and at worst lead to additional youth recidivism outcomes. What is most concerning, though, is that a majority of these incarcerated youth have one or more mental health/substance abuse disorders, special education disabilities, or maltreatment victimization histories-comorbid situations that negatively impact their involvement with the juvenile courts. In this article the authors summarize the epidemiology of these youth problems within the juvenile justice system. The authors then compare the outcome evidence for the youth placed in juvenile justice facilities with those placed in residential treatment centers, finding significant advantages to addressing the problems through rehabilitative efforts. Recognizing that there are a small number of serious youthful offenders who will need placement, their analysis finds that the juvenile courts must continue (or in many instances begin) reshaping their detention and incarceration facilities reliance on punishment toward a rehabilitative residential model.

Concepts: Sociology, Crime, Criminology, Prison, Juvenile delinquency, Abuse, Recidivism, Incarceration


Law enforcement depends on cooperation from the public and crime victims to protect citizens and maintain public safety; however, many crimes are not reported to police because of fear of repercussions or because the crime is considered trivial. It is unclear how police reporting affects the incidence of future victimization.

Concepts: Sociology, Law, Crime, Criminology, Criminal justice, Public safety, Police, Punk rock


One of the most basic predictions of almost any model of crime is that individual time preferences matter. However, empirical evidence on this fundamental property is essentially nonexistent. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first pieces of evidence on the link between time discounting and crime. We use a unique dataset that combines a survey-based measure of time discount rates (at age 13) with detailed longitudinal register data on criminal behavior spanning over 18 y. Our results show that individuals with short time horizons have a significantly higher risk of criminal involvement later in life. The magnitude of the relationship is substantial and corresponds to roughly one-third of the association between intelligence and crime.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Economics, Data, Crime, Criminology, Criminal justice, Theft


The link between early traumatic experiences of abuse/neglect and criminal behaviour has been widely demonstrated. Less is known, however, about the relationship between these experiences and the development of psychopathic personality.

Concepts: Psychology, Learning, Crime, Violent crime, The Link REIT, Criminology, Antisocial personality disorder, Personality disorders


Children with antisocial behaviour show deficits in the perception of emotional expressions in others that may contribute to the development and persistence of antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Current treatments for antisocial youngsters are limited in effectiveness. It has been argued that more attention should be devoted to interventions that target neuropsychological correlates of antisocial behaviour. This study examined the effect of emotion recognition training on criminal behaviour.

Concepts: Psychology, Neuroscience, Economics, Crime, Criminal law, Criminology, Criminal justice, Emotional expression