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Philadelphia parole board must learn how to spot psychopaths

On Sunday, I wrote about the case of Daniel Giddings, a violent criminal, recently paroled, who executed a Philadelphia cop.

Yesterday, the governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, requested a “top-to-bottom” review of Philadelphia’s parole process. And, the governor put a moratorium on paroles until the review is complete.

John S. Goldkamp, head of Temple University’s criminal justice department, got the assignment of conducting the parole system review. According to an article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Goldkamp plans to “focus on how other states release violent offenders into society and whether those practices can be used here.”

Professor Goldkamp, let me save you some trouble. All the parole board needs to do is learn how to spot the psychopaths.

Psychopathy Checklist (Revised)

All candidates for parole should be evaluated using the Psychopathy Checklist (Revised), developed by Dr. Robert Hare. The evaluation tool is designed exactly for the purpose at hand—to determine the likelihood that a criminal, especially a violent criminal, will reoffend.

Professionals trained to use the checklist evaluate the individual on 20 items. Here are the items:

  1. Glibness/superficial charm
  2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
  3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  4. Pathological lying
  5. Conning/manipulative
  6. Lack of remorse or guilt
  7. Shallow affect (emotions)
  8. Callous; lack of empathy
  9. Parasitic lifestyle
  10. Poor behavioral controls; aggressiveness
  11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
  12. Early behavior problems
  13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  14. Impulsivity
  15. Irresponsibility
  16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  17. Many short-term marital relationships
  18. Juvenile delinquency
  19. Revocation of conditional release
  20. Criminal versatility

History of a killer

Here’s what we know about Daniel Giddings, the killer, based on news accounts:

Giddings was first arrested for violent assault when he was 10. He lived much of his teenage years in juvenile facilities, where on multiple occasions he assaulted the staff, sending some to the hospital. When out of jail, he sold drugs on the corner, raised pit bulls for fighting, gambled, and fathered three children.

Then in an attempted carjacking, the victim gave Giddings $100 but didn’t want to give him the car. Giddings stuck a gun through the window of the car and shot the guy in the knees. That landed him in jail, where he ran a prison gang, was charged with disciplinary problems 27 times and spent 537 days in solitary confinement.

On the day that he shot the cop, he was riding in the car driven by a woman he recently met in a nightclub. She had no idea that he was a criminal who had just been paroled, was packing a .45, and was wanted by the police. She thought she’d met a great guy.

The news articles didn’t say the Giddings was a pathological liar, manipulative, and had a grandiose sense of self, but I’ll bet they all applied. My guess is that if this criminal was professionally evaluated using the PCL-R, he’d score very high on psychopathic traits.

Professor Goldkamp, psychopaths do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. When you let them out of jail, there will be trouble, including dead cops.

Jail costs too much

According to a knowledgeable source in Philadelphia, the back story to the problem is the skyrocketing cost of keeping people in jail. Prisons are full, and officials have been dumping offenders in order to control costs. The only way to solve the problem is to build more prisons, which would require raising taxes, which politicians are afraid to do.

So the parole board unloads prisoners and hope nothing really bad happens. In the case of Daniel Giddings, hope wasn’t enough.

The financial realities of the situation make it all the more important that candidates for parole are evaluated properly. Officials need to figure out who is really bad, beyond redemption, and use their scarce resources to keep them in jail.



14 Comments on "Philadelphia parole board must learn how to spot psychopaths"

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  1. dmatosic says:

    I don’t agree all psychopaths do not change and can not be rehabilitated. Descriptive parameters of psychopathy are not very clear. Psychopaths range from extreme criminals like serial killers to people who fill their gas and then speed off without paying , a small crime criminals. I truly believe that small crime criminals can change and rehabilitate. I had a friend who used to be drug dealer and drug addict for long time, all his early adulthood and even before. He was put in a juvenile jail for sometime .He had most of the symptoms on PCLR criteria then. After working with a psychiatrist and doing therapies he managed to change. He had his friends support which meant a lot. He is now a happily married men with two beautiful daughters working and living completely normal life.



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  2. Indigoblue says:

    dmatosic;

    Search ; google (earth House)

    $250.00 per day

    recamended stay min. 3 months $22,500.00

    Results Garenteeeeeeed!

    Would you please dep. to my Pay Pal acc. #

    1234EVIL56789 Or I do accept a cert. check
    Money Order
    Cashiers Check

    LOVE jere



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  3. Wini says:

    I don’t know Indigoblue and dmatosic: They’ve got Ridgeway alive and kicking still, and I think he got life in prison for giving up the bodies. Why not force feed him the Bible and see what happens? I think all the years Manson’s been in prison, he should be given the Bible too, just to have a look see.

    All I see are anti-socials are complete opposite of virtue.

    If someone doesn’t want to focus on virtue due to believing in their own ego, they end up focusing on the opposite, that of vice.

    First they have to read Tolle’s book “A New Earth” (and play all Tolle’s tapes) to learn how to quiet the mind … then when they get back to being in the “now” …. doorway to humble, they can let them read the Bible and Bible study would help too.

    No one has tried this except Tara Fay Tucker did it on her own … then she was executed before mental health professionals could really do the research on her …. I’d say, that ended this experiment.

    There are thousands of prisoners who changed their lives while incarcerated by reading the Bible.

    What do we have to loose? Why is their such a fear with this experiment?

    Everything in life that functions is directly from wisdom learned in the Bible.

    Everything that doesn’t function is not learning wisdom from the Bible.

    Whether people go to church or not isn’t the issue, somewhere in their family lineage, someone read the Bible and that wisdom was past down from generation to generation.

    Just a thought.

    Peace.



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  4. Indigoblue says:

    “What does he do this man you seek” NO!

    he covets

    How does one covet?

    He/it covets what it sees every day !

    the problem we all face is we see a person/soul

    it is NOT a soul !

    it is an evil spirit possessing that body w/full evil power

    hence the spell !

    it cannot attain what it seeks

    therefore it only and merly observes and delites in misery

    That is its purpose , its carrier , its JOB ! it doesnt even hold on to the pleasure of it’s deeds because it is empty , a shell , dammed for eternity ! Legions

    it is a tic,flea,aids ,cancer,

    that is a person in there poor soul Follow? That is why it is so difficult for me and you to let go ! to do NC !

    Exorcist; this movie scared the Sh*t out of me I slept with the lights on for over a week !

    Remember the girl was writing from inside of her own body SCREAMMING fo help !

    I know it reads freaking OFF the CHAIN ****** !!!!!!! ???

    LOVE jere

    love jere



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  5. Jen2008 says:

    dmatosic says:
    I don’t agree all psychopaths do not change and can not be rehabilitated….. I truly believe that small crime criminals can change and rehabilitate. I had a friend who used to be drug dealer and drug addict for long time, all his early adulthood and even before…..He had most of the symptoms on PCLR criteria then. After working with a psychiatrist and doing therapies he managed to change……

    Your friend probably changed because his PCL-R symptoms were due to behavior related to the drug addiction itself, not due to psychopathy.



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