Biological evidence may prompt sentencing break for violent offenders
A callous, manipulative psychopath convicted of a brutal crime can count on a long prison stint. But a judge may issue a slightly shorter sentence if presented with a biological explanation for the criminal’s psychopathic personality.
Supplying judges with scientific evidence about suspected brain deficits in psychopathy led to a reduction in prison sentences from about 14 years to 13 years, researchers report in the Aug. 17 Science. The results come from a nationwide, online survey of state judges given a hypothetical scenario about a psychopath convicted of what lawyers call aggravated battery.