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John Doe Case Analysis

Initial Mental Health Post-arrest Assessment

A mental health assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of the emotional state of an individual. A mental health assessment looks at the cognitive functioning (thinking, memory, and reasoning) of an individual. Mental health assessment is more comprehensive and comprises of an individualized examination that seeks to establish the psychological problems and needs affecting an individual (Ashcroft, Daniels, & Flores, 2004). Particular psychiatric disorders are more common or frequent among young offenders. These include anxiety disorders, conduct disorders, attention deficit disorders, developmental issues, affective disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Particular problem behaviors and symptoms could be a precursor for some of the aforementioned disorders, for instance, anger & aggressive behavior, suicidal tendencies, depression, anxiety, drug use problems, and bizarre thoughts.

In order to determine the personality type and suicide risk of Doe, there is need to develop an assessment questionnaire. It is possible to determine the personality type by asking the following simple questions.

  • What do you do during your free time, any hobbies?
  • Do you have any interest in sports?
  • What type of job would you like to do, any that interests you?
  • What are your ambitions in life?
  • What do you think about the running of the country?
  • Do you go to church? If so, how often?
  • How do you get along with your family?

The objective responses that Doe gives can help determine his personality type and suicide risk. The responses can give a true picture of the emotional state of Doe at the time of questioning. The manner in which Doe answers the question can help gauge his responsiveness as well as the emotional tone. The emotional tone may be categorized as either neutral, despondent, cynical or euphoric. This can help determine his emotional status. The rating scale should depend on the number of words used to answer the questions and the tone Doe employs in answering the questions.

Initial Investigative Post-arrest Assessment

Once a crime is reported, police officers must conduct an initial investigation to establish the nature of the crime and other crucial details such as the motivation behind the offender. The initial investigation involves a physical examination of the available evidence, which may be from the scene of crime, interviewing witnesses, from CCTVs, and other reliable sources (Lanning, 2010). After this, there is need to establish the major motivation behind a crime. This seeks to examine the factors that drove the offender into committing the enlisted criminal acts. While conducting the background investigation, it is important to focus beyond the routine examination involving date of birth or criminal background. The investigator must examine other crucial details such as early childhood experiences of the offender and his schooling life. Doe’s behavior may be characterized as either preferential or as a true pedophile depending on certain characteristics. Doe’s behavior points to a preferential sex offender.

A preferential sex offender such as Doe exhibits fantasy-driven behavior and specific sexual interests focusing on children. According to Lanning 2010, sexual abuse in the earlier years could be one of the motivators that drive offenders such as Doe. Limited social contact during teenage life could be another possible reason for the behavior. Teenage socialization involves dating-like relationships. At age 14, Doe was already using drugs and exhibited antisocial behaviors that landed him in special education classes. It is possible that Doe had a few friends at this age. Doe could be engaging in child pornography collection as a way of satisfying compulsive sexual fantasies that he harbors (Lanning, 2010). Another possible motivation is validation, which entails the need to justify one’s behaviors. This drives offenders such as Doe to keep large collections of child pornography in their computers and other safe places. Another possible motivation is the financial gain since some individuals consider child pornography as an avenue for commercial exploitation.

Difference between law enforcement personnel and forensic mental health professional in conducting assessment.

Law enforcement personnel and forensic mental health professionals conduct assessments and criminal investigations using different methods. The law enforcement personnel focus more on establishing whether the offender committed the crime. As such, the initial investigation in the case of Doe would involve reviewing the scene of crime and any witnesses. Taking his computer was one way of finding evidence against Doe since it contains images depicting child pornography. Recording of the crime in the police criminal records follows the initial investigation. A crime reference number is then issued to Doe within a period of less than 2 days. Law enforcement personnel then assess the seriousness of the crime and the possibility of solving the crime using available evidence. If there is need for further investigations, an investigating officer records statement from witnesses or any victims involved. Law enforcement officers are also interested in sexual history of the offender.

Forensic mental health personnel may take a different dimension while conducting assessments and criminal investigative procedures on Doe. The assessment stage for forensic mental health professionals involves gathering information from a range of sources such as interviews, tests and documents (Russell & Darjee, 2013). Interviews can enable the forensic mental health professional to identify the attitude of the offender as well as personality disposition. A forensic professional is interested in understanding the emotional, sexual and interpersonal functioning of the offender. A forensic professional may administer psychological tests to determine the mental state of the offender. The forensic professional is determined to establish the underlying psychological factors that compel the victim towards the behavior (Russell & Darjee, 2013). He/she is likely to examine the treatment needs that can help the offender quit the negative behavior.

Personality characteristics and motivational dynamics

Child sex offenders may exhibit particular characteristics distinct from other kind of offenders. One of the main characteristic/motivational dynamic is fantasy-driven behavior (Lanning, 2010). Most of these offenders often collect and store a large collection of child pornographic content. The individuals records the fantasies as they see them occurring in movies and film collection they have. With time, the individuals may act to turn the repetitive sexual fantasies depicted in the movies into reality. As such, a first time offender such as Doe might have ended up engaging in the actual sexual abuse depicted just to fulfill his fantasies. A characteristic of individuals likely to commit or support sexual acts with minors is deviant sexual behavior or interests. Deviant sexual behavior is a compulsive attraction to commit illegal sexual acts, which are unusual. For example, such individuals exhibit a desire for sex with minors or even rape.

Individuals capable of child sexual abuse such as Doe harbor an antisocial orientation. According to Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005), antisocial orientation refers to a range of antisocial behaviors depicted by certain individuals. These behaviors include unemployment, impulsivity, and rule violation, history of drug & substance abuse. The research suggests that there exists a strong correlation between rule violation and reckless or impulsive behaviors such as fights, alcohol abuse, sexual crimes, and others. An antisocial orientation means that an individual is compulsively willing to harm others and still justify their actions. According to Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005), one of the major factors that contribute to the development of sexually offensive behavior among individuals is an adverse family background. Doe clearly exhibits characteristics of an antisocial orientation. At the age of fourteen, he was already using Marijuana and alcohol. In second grade, he had to join special education classes. Another important pointer is that he had a relatively difficult childhood, following molestation experiences at the age of nine.

Appropriate Post-conviction Treatment

Incarceration may not be effective in preventing recidivism among child sexual offenders. Effective treatment approaches should seek at behavior modification to minimize the incidences of recidivism among inmates released back into the community. Cognitive behavioral interventions are some of the most effective treatment approaches among child sexual offenders. Cognitive behavioral interventions should focus on empathy training, victim awareness, sexual abuse cycle, cognitive restructuring, and relapse prevention (Moster, Wnuk, & Jeglie, 2008). Cognitive-behavioral interventions may also help offenders develop proper social and interpersonal skills and to change their sexual arousal patterns. The basic premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is that dysfunctional thinking is the source of most behavioral problems including child sexual abuses. The dysfunctional thoughts are a responsible for altering one’s behaviors and moods. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims at changing the though and belief pattern of individuals who commit various crimes.

Apart from preventing recidivism among post-convicts, the cognitive behavioral therapy also aims at instilling a sense of self-worth among offenders who go back to the community (Moster, Wnuk, & Jeglie, 2008). The specific treatment approach first aims at informing convicts of the role deviant thoughts play in developing inappropriate actions. The second step is to explore the various ways in which offenders can correct deviant thoughts. The last step is to help offenders to challenge the deviant thoughts (Moster, Wnuk, Jeglie, 2008). This article recommends a group approach to application of the cognitive behavioral treatment approach. A group approach can enable offenders share their experiences and help one another to adopt appropriate behaviors. Progress assessment entails analyzing psychological outcome profiles of the offenders.

Psychological tests useful in psychological profiling

Psychological tests enable psychologists to unearth critical information that the patient may be unwilling to share. One of the psychological tests is Abel Assessment. Abel Assessment is comprehensive evaluation strategy that is empirically validated and enables psychologists identify individuals with deviant sexual behaviors (Millon & Bloom, 2008). Abel Assessment involves viewing pictures on a computer and answering some questions. Depending on how one answers the questions, a percentage rates one’s sexual interest to children. Another important psychological test that can be used in criminal investigations is the Millon Behavioral Medical Diagnostic, which measures health habits such as alcohol abuse, psychiatric indications, coping styles, and stress moderators (Millon & Bloom, 2008). This psychological test is important since it can help determine the mental health status of an individual convicted of a crime.

References

Ashcroft, J., Daniels, D. J., & Flores, J. R. (2004). Screening and assessing mental health and       substance use disorders among youth in the Juvenile Justice System. Office of Juvenile          Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from    https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/204956.pdf

Hanson, R. K., & Morton-Bourgon, K. E., (2005). The characteristics of persistent sexual             offenders: A meta-analysis of recidivism studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical      Psychology, 73(6): 1154 – 1163.

Lanning, K. V., (2010). Child molesters: a behavioral analysis. Office of Juvenile Justice and       Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from    http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC70.pdf

Millon, T., & Bloom, C. (2008). The Millon inventories: A practitioner’s guide to personalized    clinical assessment. New York: Guilford Press.

Moster, A., Wnuk, D. W., & Jeglie, E. L. (2008). Cognitive behavioral therapy interventions        with sex offenders. Journal of Correctional Health Care, 14(2): 109 – 121.

Russell, K., Darjee, R. (2013). Practical assessment and management of risk in sexual offenders. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 19(1): 56 – 66.

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