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Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychiatry: Cases and Practices

Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychiatry: Cases and Practices
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Author(s): Augusto Balloni (Italian Society of Victimology, Italy)and Roberta Bisi (University of Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 21
Source title: Cases on Technologies for Teaching Criminology and Victimology: Methodologies and Practices
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Raffaella Sette (University of Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-872-7.ch001


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This chapter suggests a theoretical and empirical approach that makes use of an integrated methodology from a criminological, sociological, psychological and psychiatric perspective, in order to analyze the personality of the perpetrator of the crime or to examine a witness in order to assess his credibility. In particular, the Psychiatric expertise pursues the objective of ascertain the mental state of a person in the moment when he committed the fact provided by law as a crime, he is charged, therefore his level of responsibility, or in order to attempt to understand his future behavior considering the evaluation of the possible existence of social dangerousness. After a close observation of the concepts of mental competence, imputability and social dangerousness, the chapter focuses on the analysis of some expert cases, by comparing different methods related to clinical psychology (interview, level test, personality psycho-diagnostic tests that can be used even in the criminological field, defined as applied, to which are attributed practical aims pursued with scientific means. Finally, it points out the importance of providing reliable, coherent and non labeling judgments about the subject who has been submitted to psychiatric expertise. To achieve this aim, the criminologist, with psychiatric or psychological training, has many rudiments at his disposal in order to make well-founded choices, by adopting a non judging scientific behavior, wondering both about the reason of the criminal’s behavior and the help that can be supplied in order to adopt a suitable conduct in future.

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