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Families of sociopaths need help when incarceration is over

Shortly after I met serial killer Rodney Alcala, he invited me over to see his photography. At the time he was living with his parents even though he was 35. Upon entering the home, he introduced me to his mother who was visibly angry with him for inviting me over. Looking back now I can guess this was because he had been convicted twice of violent crimes against young girls.

I do not blame the Alcala family for the behavior of Rodney or for not telling me to get away from him. I only bring up this story to highlight the fact that when offenders are released from prison they become a problem for their families.

A person getting out of prison has no place to go, no home, no money and no job. It is only natural they turn to their families. It would take a pretty cold-hearted or perhaps enlightened family to refuse to help.

Criminologists consider family resources to be a buffer against recidivism. Although I have not thoroughly researched this field, I haven’t seen proof that families really prevent re-offense vs. Re-arrest. One authoritative web site says this:

Family-focused programs in community corrections are based on the recognition that families provide an informal agent of control that are more powerful than formal agents of control (probation, parole, law enforcement) for offenders under supervision in the community.

Now if you read that and understood the above quote you are laughing with me. While families may have a positive influence on offenders who are not disordered, to say that families have any power to stop a sociopath/psychopath is ridiculous.

I would like to see violent offenders evaluated for the presence of psychopathy. The reason is that many people especially the offender’s family members take the attitude “They served their time, give them a chance to do better.” In many cases offending is more reflective of a situation than an individual’s personality per se. But if a person goes out looking for prey, finds an innocent victim, lures them and then assaults them, we can’t chalk that up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the case of predation, assuming the person was not falsely accused/convicted, the crime has to reflect a personality disposition.

We should not be releasing psychopathic offenders (as defined by the PCL-R) to the care of untrained family members who haven’t the slightest idea what to do. In this case rather than the family serving as an “informal agent of control”, the family home serves as a secure base from which the offender can launch attacks upon the community.

For more on families as resources for offenders see the Center for Evidence Based Practice



34 Comments on "Families of sociopaths need help when incarceration is over"

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  1. flowerpower says:

    EB read your posts..

    if you think he has something at your house can you leave and have it surveilled..police or PI or just watch from neighbors house? Maybe let him know you are leaving? just a thought but I would listen to my gut.

    My ex “disappeared” and then reappeared at my house and threatened suicide..but doubt the gun was for him…

    I had fled the house when I heard he was “loose”. Listen to your gut..

    oH just read latest with police patrolling…nice. I live in a suburb so it is like a small town. Police can be good depends on who you get. Glad yours were willing to listen. Stay safe …you are so fortunate to have LF..

    I was all alone going thru my junk but its not over (never is right) so may be up one night posting. I know it was a long one so get some rest..



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  2. learning says:

    Dearest Conomo,

    Please seek assistance for substance abuse. Conomo, it will only get worse not better. While you are in sober times, please consider choosing to make healthier choices for YOURSELF. Commit to it.

    Dearest Gem and Conomo and others,

    If ever you feel uncomfortable or feel this site is being abused by anyone, you dont have to engage you can email Donna Anderson directly or use the “Report abusive comment” option. At the risk of there no longer being an elephant in the room, I do believe it is now the choice of many here to no longer feel they have to be quiet, hide, turn away from, or ignore certain things – but we rather now choose to be proactive by educating and informing others of what we know to be the truth. That being said, we cannot “police” the LF site 24 hours, but certainly when we are here we can do EXACTLY what Geminigirl chose to do – address it for the sake of others who arent aware and then move on.

    Conomo, its your life, its your choices. This is not about bullying up on you. This is about my caring for another persons well-being and the honesty and openness of this site. Be well Conomo. You can always choose to be well – not alcohol/drugs — during stressful, depressing times. You can choose to help yourself, not hurt. xoxo



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  3. ErinBrock says:

    Heres how I feel.
    I live my life NOT being in situations where people are drunk.
    I DON”T like the behaviors and the sloppyness.
    I don’t like the extremes which come from drinking….either great fondness, or great anger…..
    I expect genuine feelings and dealings, based on an unaltered state of emotions.

    I don’t appreciate the passive aggressive, pity party posts that come from sloshing.

    I feel my ‘space’ is invaded each time this occurs on LF. I get something from my time with other posters here and I resent it when someone shows up acting weird.
    I dont like that I am forced to stop and think about how I wish to deal with these persons. And each time they show up, aain.and again and again…..drunk…..It aggrevates me further because it’s continued behaviors…..

    Last night I was terrified, came on for support and get an obviously drunk poster…….
    I don’t even know how to interpret these posts to me……becuase they are so very minimized with the tone and the next passive aggressive words that follow.
    I personally would appreciate you taking your mind fuck somewhere else when your drinking.

    I’ve addressed this honestly and openly…..and you have no respect for yourself or others here to stay away while drunk.

    You make me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE!!!!!

    Your behaviors are selfish and self serving and harmful to others…..NOT ONLY YOURSELF.

    Your not fooling anyone, Your not hiding…and your CERTAINLY NOT HELPING YOURSELF!!!!
    You affect others and you don’t seem to care one bit!!!

    I’m not interested in an appology, you’ve invited this on repeatedly yourself……I’m done with you……
    I have no compassion for someone who keeps banging their head on the wall….and wonders why they are bleeding!!!

    It’s pathetic.



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  4. OxDrover says:

    Matt, you are SPOT ON with your post about a LIFE SENTENCE WITHOUT PAROLE! That is exactly what it is like. I didn’t realize totally what this entailed until the last couple of years but I have DONE MY TIME, HARD TIME! Plenty of Solitary Confinement and plenty of abuse from the guards (the world at large) and my “cell mate” (P-son).

    I’ve BROKEN OUT and ESCAPED from the prison of my relationship with him and am now on the run, but I”m FREE even if I do have to look over my shoulder. Also, I realize that I HAVE COMMITTED NO CRIME and the REAL criminal is the one who stalks me and the bounty hunters he hires or dupes!

    But I no longer live in FEAR or TERROR because I know that I have seen the worst he can do to me, and it is to terrorize me. As long as I am no living in fear I WIN.

    I remember the faces of the other families visiting in the prison when I would go see him. Many times you would see it was the parents of the inmates bringing his young children to visit “daddy” in prison, or sometimes the wife bringing the kids to visit. Most prisoners were young men, 20-25. I remember the looks of sadness and resignation on the faces of the mothers. Or the looks of contempt from some of the prison staff. Everyone pretending this was just a family day at a hospital or something.

    No more. I’m outta there for good!



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  5. bluejay says:

    Matt,

    Thank you for your post, having been interested in what you had to say about the families of spaths, being sensitive to their plight.



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  6. Matt says:

    OxDrover and bluejay:

    Thanks for the kudos.

    I had a most interesting encounter today — I bumped into S-ex’s ex (two exes ago). Those of you who know my story may recall my taking S-ex for a visit to Washington to see the cherry blossoms. S-ex chose that visit to sandbag his ex, who is now an Episcopal priest, on the altar.

    Anyhow, I bumped into the ex. He recognized me. And naturally asked about S-ex. I told him that I was no longer seeing S-ex and had relocated to Washington. He then mentioned that S-ex had contacted him several times. I just looked at him and said “If you are smart, you haven’t responded and won’t respond.” He told me “There isn’t any upside for me to respond.” I told him “I think you need to be updated on what he’s been up to since you broke up. For you own safety and well-being.” He seemed momentarily taken aback. But, I saw that look come into his eyes — you know that look — of someone who has been to hell and back. Even if they can’t name where they’ve been, they know they have no interest in going back there. Anyhow, he agreed and gave me his card. So, one of these days I may call him. Or maybe I’ll just send him a copy of my extensive files on S and let him draw his own conclusions.



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  7. ErinBrock says:

    Matt:
    Things work out ……:)



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