I was watching a program with 2 doctors on it a few days ago. I don't remember their names, but she was a psychiatrist who had graduated with her doctorate in Psychiatry about 20 to 25 years ago. For her thesis she studied juvenile criminals to see what made or drove them to commit their crimes. She said as she examined these teen children, mentally she began to note that nearly all of them came from abusive backgrounds and had many physical injuries and scars from being abused as a child. She stated she found cigarette burn marks, striped scarring on their back and head injuries in many of the children.
She thought about her findings a lot and wanted to know more. For instance were there neurological damage or injuries to these kids as well? So she called a man whom she had graduated with, who chose the field of neurology and was just starting out in his practice too. She did not tell him why, or what she was looking for, she just asked him to examine these kids in the system she had been looking at.
He stated that he was annoyed by her insistence that he look at these kids in the criminal justice system and did not want to be around them and did not know why she was asking him to take a look at them. She pestered him into it and he finally said yes. As he began looking into the kids and the crimes they had committed, he began to see a correlation in the types of crimes and the fact that most of them had at some time had head injuries as evidenced by scars on their head.
Those with frontal scars around the frontal lobes of their brains were the ones who were the worst off. The frontal lobes are the area of the brain that holds your conscience and tells you when you should or should not do things. The ones who had the more severe injuries in the past to that area of their head were the worst offenders.
So in 2 independent findings, when these 2 doctors began to compare notes, they found the same thing, these kids who were abused as children had lost their ability to tell right from wrong with the head injuries and the further abuse they suffered as children.
Again, the majority of the findings are that children who are abused lose the ability to make good judgments and become the criminals of tomorrow. Henrik is quite right about this. We in the field of domestic violence and child abuse talk incessantly about stopping the cycle of abuse to prevent that child from growing up to be an abuser too. We know that more people who are abused wind up in prison for violent crimes and murder, than those who have never been abused.
So those of you who are poo pooing what Henrik has said here are quite sadly wrong. He is on the right track about the causes of criminal activity in a large segment of the prison population. PREVENTION IS THE KEY to stopping the violence before it happens.
However, I still believe in the death penalty for the worst of the worst, unlike Henrik who does not believe it should be used at all. But I do admire his gentleman's stance against the odds here on this forum and hope he keeps speaking out. He has some very good points on many things.
Sociology VS Psychopath: I put the definition of Sociopath on here earlier. Compare that to the below definition of Psychopath and you will see it is very close.
Psychopathy is a psychological construct that describes chronic immoral and antisocial behavior. The term is often used interchangeably with sociopathy. Psychopathy has been the most studied of any personality disorder. Today the term can legitimately be used in two ways. One is in the legal sense, "psychopathic personality disorder" under the Mental Health Act 1983 of the UK. The other use is as a severe form of the antisocial or dissociative personality disorder as exclusively defined by the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). The term "psychopathy" is often confused with psychotic disorders. It is estimated that approximately one percent of the general population are psychopaths. They are overrepresented in prison systems, politics, law enforcement agencies, law firms, and in the media.
The psychopath is defined by a continual seeking of psychological gratification in criminal, sexual, or aggressive impulses and the inability to learn from past mistakes. Using Freudian terminology, the psychopathic personality occurs when the ego can't mediate between the id and the super-ego, thus allowing the id to run off the pleasure principle, and the super-ego has no control over the actions of the ego. In other words, individuals with this disorder gain satisfaction through their aggressive, sexual and criminal impulses as well as lack a conscience.
Psychopathy is frequently co-morbid with other psychological disorders (particularly narcissistic personality disorder). The psychopath differs slightly from the sociopath, and even more so from an individual with antisocial personality disorder. Nevertheless, the three are frequently used interchangeably. While nearly all psychopaths have antisocial personality disorder, only some individuals with antisocial personality disorder are psychopaths.
Many psychologists believe that psychopathy falls on a spectrum of disorders ranging from narcissistic personality disorder on the low end, malignant narcissism in the middle, and psychopathy on the high end. An almost all-pervasive misconception is that psychopaths are doomed to a life of violence and crime. It is possible for psychopaths to become successful in many lines of work, while many also become lazy underachievers. Psychopathy is frequently mistaken with other similar personality disorders, such as dissocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and schizoid personality disorder (as well as others).
This trait in conjunction with an inability to defer gratification in criminal, sexual and aggressive desires, leads to the psychopath to constantly engage in antisocial behaviors. Psychopathy (in its extreme form) does not necessarily lead itself to criminal and violent behavior (although such tendencies are likely). Instead, psychopaths high in social cognition may be able to redirect their aggressive and sexual desires in a more positive manner.
Psychopaths (and others on the pathological narcissism scale) low in social cognition are more prone to violence against others, failure in occupational settings, and problems maintaining relationships. All psychopaths differ in their impulse control abilities, and overall desires. Psychopaths high in the pathological narcissism scale are more equipped to succeed, but pathological narcissism does not in any way guarantee success. Those that fall into the category of psychopath are vulnerable to a life of crime, poverty, and extremely poor interpersonal relationships.
Main article: Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)
The following findings are for research purposes only, and are not used in clinical diagnosis. These items cover the affective, interpersonal, and behavioral features. Each item is rated on a score from zero to two. The sum total determines the extent of a person's psychopathy.
Factor1: Aggressive narcissism
1. Glibness / superficial charm
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Pathological lying
4. Cunning / manipulative
5. Lack of remorse or guilt
7. Callous / lack of empathy
8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor2: Socially deviant lifestyle
1. Need for stimulation / proneness to boredom
2. Parasitic lifestyle
3. Poor behavioral control
4. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
7. Juvenile delinquency
8. Early behavior problems
9. Revocation of conditional release
Traits not correlated with either factor
1. Many short-term marital relationships
2. Promiscuous sexual behavior
3. Criminal versatility
In practice, mental health professional rarely treat psychopathic personality disorders as they are considered untreatable and no interventions have proved to be effective.In England and Wales the diagnosis of dissocial personality disorder is grounds for detention in secure psychiatric hospitals under the Mental Health Act if they have committed serious crimes, but since such individuals are disruptive for other patients and not responsive to treatment this alternative to prison is not often used.
Because an individual's scores may have important consequences for his or her future, the potential for harm if the test is used or administered incorrectly is considerable. The test should only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled conditions. 
Hare wants the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to list psychopathy as a unique disorder, saying that psychopathy has no precise equivalent in either the DSM-IV-TR, where it is most strongly correlated with the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, or the ICD-10, which has a partly similar condition called dissocial personality disorder. Both organisations view the terms as synonymous. But only a minority of what Hare and his followers would diagnose as psychopaths who are in institutions are violent offenders. The manipulative skills of some of the others are valued for providing audacious leadership. It is argued that psychopathy is adaptive in a highly competitive environment, because it gets results for both the individual and the corporations or, often small political sects that they represent. However, these individuals will often cause long-term harm, both to their co-workers and the organization as a whole, due their manipulative, deceitful, abusive, and often fraudulent behaviour.
Hare describes people he calls psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse". "What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony."