First read this
Then watch this
First read this
Then watch this
"The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners."
Don't you think that's a waste of money??? seems like people live fine in other nations... are people really that crazy, stupid and violent in the US.
It isn't known for sure, but researchers believe that we have the highest rates of per capita clinical and subclinical psychopathy. It is also possible, though unlikely, that we have the highest absolute rates of clinical and subclinical psychopathy.
If you live in the United States, you know a psychopath. You probably know more than one. Psychopaths are your abusive employers, your scheming coworkers, your philandering spouses. Psychopaths run our corporations, they rise to high levels in our government, and they ruin our families. Is everyone who does something shady a psychopath? No. But is this sort of conduct suggestive of psychopathy? Yes, especially when it is done without any indication of real remorse.
I've read a significant amount on the subject of psychopathy, because I've been the victim of more than one what I now understand to have been a psychopath. I've experienced firsthand the destruction they cause--odds are, so have you. I believe the research which suggests America is suffering a psychopathy epidemic. If you're interested, some books I can suggest offhand are:
"Without Conscience," by Dr. Robert Hare.
"Snakes in Suits," also by Dr. Robert Hare.
"The Sociopath Next Door," by Dr. Martha Stout.
That being said, I don't know if prison is the answer to America's psychopathy problem. Obviously, criminal psychopaths need to be incarcerated, and when they're properly diagnosed by independent experts, they should be incarcerated for as long as possible (because true psychopaths don't respond to punishment, and the only way to deal with them is to remove them from society). But because psychopaths don't respond to punishment, they also can't be deterred, and therefore, prison isn't the long term solution.
What is the solution? Identifying the solution requires identifying why so many Americans are developing psychopathy. I have my opinion; it is the too great emphasis on capitalism, and achievement of personal wealth at all costs. Every American--especially every American male, the sex most susceptible to psychopathy-- knows, deep down, that success, specifically financial success, is all that really matters to people, the only way to be "someone" in American society, and that if you don't make a lot of money, you're bound to be no one at all. This results in a "do anything to win" mentality that starts people down the road to psychopathic behaviors.
Other theories abound on the causes of the psychopathy epidemic, of course. As far as I know, my theory is unique to me. But I believe it is a true theory; if excessive capitalism isn't the sole cause of American psychopathy, it is a major contributing factor. Diminish social stratification, soften the bludgeon force of capitalism, and I believe that in a generation or two you'll see a diminution in American psychopathy. Faster, certainly, than you'll see any diminution by building more prisons and incarcerating more people.
By the way: don't think that American psychopathy is anything new to recent generations. Our celebrated heroes of the old west, our Jesse James, our Billy the Kids--psychopathic murderers. And before them, the pirates of the Caribbean. It's impossible to measure data on the rates of psychopathy in pre-modern America, of course. But it is clear that psychopathy was present, and a major force in American life, well before the New Deal, and Social Security, and labor protection laws came along and made people feel entitled to be treated like human beings.
In answer to the question posed: I don't think money spent on prisons is a waste of money if we're incarcerating real, dangerous psychopaths. But I do believe we need a better approach to the problem of American psychopathy. We need an approach that looks at the root causes of the problem, rather than just tries to treat the symptoms.
I often have physcopathological thoughts and can mentally see myself in the "third person" acting out what my mind thinks. But, then, I spank myself and all is better.
Am I of your one in ten?? Am I normal??
Martha Stout uses the figure %4. She claims that %4 of Americans are "sociopaths," (a term she uses to mean what I mean by "psychopath"--a person without conscience). But she cites some studies which claim that as many as %33 of American males are psychopaths.
In east Asian countries, by contrast, the number of estimated psychopaths tops out at less than %1.
I don't recall what figures, if any, Hare cites. But I do know that he makes a distinction between "clinical psychopaths," or people who score 30 and above on the Psychopathy Checklist, and "subclinical psychopaths," or people who score between 20 and 30 on it. When the idea of the "subclinical psychopath" is added to the mix; which is typically a person who shows most of the traits of the psychopath, except for the violence; the number of psychopaths probably climbs higher than %4.
You know I kind of looked into that back in the day cuz I have a wealthy relative who has a few screws loose and qulifies for few of those psychological disorders but then I don't know that many people who don't. Lot of kids that I went to college with are all about money and personal growth. None has comitted crimes to achieving their goals because they went about it the legal way through education and by having a job. The opportunity is there for even the low income kids to make it. Immigrants do it without necesserily going to college but instead saving and investing in small businesses. I do agree that the traits of psychopathy for example are much higher in the US then for example in Europe. People are generally happier there then they are here. Money doesn't change your status in europe as much as it does here. I can't comment on other continents/countries but europe is my second home so just about anyone you talk to can confirm that for you.