Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Living with the psychopath

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  • DexterX, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    muddying the waters

    In a wider view of forums where the fork in the road on marriage equality leads into a discussion on that existence of that God guy the direction this is going seems reasonable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Indeed.

    Sorry - I don't see 19 years of age as being a situation where a child is raising child.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Lilith __,

    You want to torture the guy?? Not even the Sensible Sentencing Trust is asking for that!

    No, perhaps I was being a little too facetious. I was talking about intense group psychotherapy where offenders are challenged at a deep level. It was something alluded to in the Roper Report on prison reform ( sorry can't find a link to this old report). Offenders are confronted over time and within a controlled group setting in an attempt to crack through the denial. I have worked on Non Violence groups where a level of this work is done. I have seen the edge of this in some intense Family group conferences I have a been a part of , where victims confront the offender in no uncertain terms. Not suggesting sex offender victims should be part of this but I know of some who would be more than willing to vent their rage.
    Calling the above torture is ill informed I believe.

    I think the extensive use of solitary confinement is a form of torture. If you know anyone who has spent time in max security you will hear horror stories of solitary confinement madness, beatings, suicides, brutality and sexual assaults .

    And you think intensive and challenging psychological work is torture .

    From conversations I have had with leaders in the Police and psyches working with sex offenders there are two types. Opportunist offenders who once caught a confronted never offend again. Serial offenders who are deeply disturbed and will reoffend time and time again - they do the most damage and they are almost impossible to "treat" with conventional behavioral mod techniques.

    Part of my job has been to study and get familiar with the sex offender profile - I am sorry if my original post was written light heartedly but I am serious in challenging the efficacy of offender treatment programmes. If we cannot "treat" these serial offenders we really should lock them away for life. A psychologist friend of mine spent 2 years working on sex offender programmes and gave up in the end , changed career path and said "they cannot be changed , we need to lock them up forever".

    A part of "choosing to be better", of being civilized, is also in protecting our young ones from predators. If the current law prevents us from locking them away forever then we need to create new methods of "treatment" at the very least, because when those serial offenders come out, they will re-offend.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Richard Aston,

    And you think intensive and challenging psychological work is torture .

    It did sound like it in your original post!
    But if an offender refuses to participate in therapy, as this man has, what then?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3884 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Richard Aston,

    tick tock orange?

    Calling the above torture is ill informed I believe.

    Indeed, seems much more like Fracking ...
    "- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7565 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to DexterX,

    Sorry - I don't see 19 years of age as being a situation where a child is raising child.

    No need to apologise - if you're going to take a narrowly legalistic view, maybe you're right. Without meaning to make some kind of blanket deference to the wisdom of the judiciary, I'm going to assume here that the judge took into account the likely consequences of a prison sentence on the particular individual. Apart from satisfying the public appetite for revenge, was it likely to make the offender a better person?

    One connection I will concede with Wilson's case - unless we've led very sheltered lives, I think we've all encountered people who've displayed a certain learned tendency to manipulate that they've probably picked up in prison. Most are a bit too full of their own imagined ability to be convincing, but they'll try it on. I don't know if Wilson, like Charles Manson, refined his manipulative talents in the prison system, but it seems likely. Whatever, it doesn't surprise me that a reasonably socially aware judge would be reluctant to compound a tragedy by imposing a prison sentence.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4529 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I am interested in what you think

    if you're going to take a narrowly legalistic view, maybe you're right..

    When is it that you see one stops being a shild and becomes an adult?

    it doesn't surprise me that a reasonably socially aware judge would be reluctant to compound a tragedy by imposing a prison sentence.

    How will a prison sentence in contrast to home d compound a tragedy and compound it for whom - the infant, the mother or Hall?

    What do you see will make Hall a better person?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    To my mind Hall needs a prison sentence – I don’t feel home detention will help him in the long term.

    How on earth would putting him in prison for a year help him? There's not a lot of good parenting models there.

    The only possible reason for a punishment model which makes any sense (if you buy into it - I don't particularly), is that it makes the victims feel better. In the case of a baby there's not the required consciousness to feel better than the criminal has been put behind bars. Best thing for both of them is for him to learn to become a better parent, because he's likely to have that role to some extent for a long time to come.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6242 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to DexterX,

    When is it that you see one stops being a shild and becomes an adult?

    Depends entirely on the individual. Also I'm not offering "being a child" as some kind of mitigating circumstance. It's just the nature of the dysfunction, and that's hardly likely to be remedied by a spell in prison.

    How will a prison sentence in contrast to home d compound a tragedy and compound it for whom - the infant, the mother or Hall?

    As you're the one advocating a prison sentence for Hall, shouldn't you be spruiking the benefit? From my limited experience of such things I can't see how placing someone who's demonstrably immature and poorly educated into an academy for criminality is going to benefit anyone.

    What do you see will make Hall a better person?

    Perhaps you're privileged to know more about Hall than has been revealed in the media. I don't. I also don't know about the quality of supervision or the kind of rehabilitation that he'll be offered during his term of home detention. As long as there's a chance that he'll be made to face the consequences of his actions, and hopefully be equipped to make some kind of eventual restitution to those he's damaged, then I believe that it's a better option than a purely punitive prison term.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4529 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    The horrible outcomes of people who are essentially children having children – and given the often ghastly consequences there’s nothing cute or innocent about that – is a world away from the unrepentant Wilson’s refusal to engage with society on anything but his own terms.

    Too true. Wilson knows about societal responsibilities but deliberately doesn't believe in them - a common trait of the ultra-narcissist. Whereas Hall is effectively still too young to grasp the meaning of it.

    And talk of eugenics is yet another example of the collective obsession with attacking the symptom. Have the usual suspects ever thought for a moment how it would be enforced? Alberto Fujimori, much? Or furnaces, even?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5341 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Lilith __,

    But if an offender refuses to participate in therapy, as this man has, what then?

    That's exactly my point. Offenders would also refuse to participate in prison, probation and home detention if they could but does that stop us making them participate.

    Expecting the offender's acceptance they need help is like that Light Bulb joke.
    How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
    One. But only if the light bulb really wants to change.

    I think that's a cope out by psychologists . Maybe a confrontational approach won't work but we should at least be exploring the options.

    The current treatment programmes such as Kia Marama seem to show success ie low re offending rates but there are a couple of catches to this
    1 Over what period of time. This report shows the re offending rate increases over time. Same gotyou applies to Boot Camp stats .
    2 What is the selection process for offender programmes , who doesn't get into the programmes. It seems the worst offenders don't but while I can't find any case studies or stats on this my suspicion is that prison programmes tend to select out ( or self select) those most likely to re offend. They have to produce good stats to survive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Gudrun Gisela,

    Robert Hall he caused injuries to his daughter for a period of four months from Nov 2010 through to March 2011 which included both legs broken – one leg in four places – and he prevented the infant’s mother from seeking treatment.



    A baby with broken limbs would have been screaming just about none stop . What is happening to their immediate family? Why is the mother not leaving this man and taking her baby to a hospital? Just imagine if we made it law if a child is found in such horrific state both parents go to jail and they lose the right to parent it until it is eighteen years of age maybe something might change.The child can be adopted out to people who would give it a loving and peaceful home. Why do we make so many excused for these adults?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2011 • 891 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Gudrun Gisela,

    . . . he prevented the infant’s mother from seeking treatment.

    That's pretty grim. I can only hope the learned judge knows what he's doing.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4529 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    That’s pretty grim. I can only hope the learned judge knows what he’s doing.

    She. I hope so too. The sentence is certainly an outlier. But I prefer a system where sentences are handed down by judges who have heard the all the evidence and eyeballed the defendant, and not people who just read about it in the paper.

    On my reading of the story, the baby will stay with the mother, who took her to the hospital. Hall will be required to provide financial support on his release from home detention.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Richard Aston,

    a cope out by psychologists

    very good

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gudrun Gisela,

    Why is the mother not leaving this man and taking her baby to a hospital?

    I haven't taken any interest in the case. Was there a charge of failing to provide care laid against her as well?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gudrun Gisela,

    Why is the mother not leaving this man and taking her baby to a hospital?

    She did take her baby to the hospital. That's what led to the conviction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I can only hope the learned judge knows what he’s doing.

    Well, I'm certain she's considered all the evidence -- and possibly a lot that's either not in the public domain or not deemed worthy of publication by sensation-junkie media.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12363 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I find it a little distressing that some people seem to feel they can make sweeping judgements on judicial matters when all they know of the case is what they have seen & heard in the media. Most know that the media are selective in what they report (tabloid preference for scandal & reportage by hyperbole, for instance) and that news media are often restricted in what they can report for judicial reasons.

    But, based on an unreliable sub-set of all the evidence from a trial, they see fit to pass judgement. This is the sort of stuff that plays into the hands of the Sensible Sentencing Trust (not sure if that is the correct name, but SST could have referred to a Sunday newspaper...).
    Why not accept that we only know a fraction, and likely enough an unreliable fraction, of the facts of a case & abstain from casting judgement?

    For myself, I see this tragic case (Hall, not the BoB) as a symptom of the degradation of our society - along much the same lines as espoused by our host, RB. The perpetrator, Hall, while manifestly guilty of abhorrent behaviour & deserving of punishment, should never have been in a position to commit the acts, should have had far better "parenting skills" before being in sole charge of the infant and in an ideal world should not have become a parent until capable of forming a loving and caring bond with his child.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Ah, Craig, there I was bashing out a wordy, rambling piece and you nailed it pithily in the meantime.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Richard Aston,

    But if an offender refuses to participate in therapy, as this man has, what then?

    That’s exactly my point. Offenders would also refuse to participate in prison, probation and home detention if they could but does that stop us making them participate.

    A person who refuses to participate in probation ends up in prison. You don't have to "participate" in being in prison or on home D, you're either there or you're not. They can put you there and ignore you. Therapy, though, requires more than just talking at the offender in order to be useful, and in the case of someone like Wilson he's probably got very effective switch-off mechanisms that will let him tune out the annoying drone of the other participants in the session. Which means that even trying is wasting everyone's time and achieving nothing, hence requiring people to at least want to participate in therapy. It's not a passive activity, unlike being involved in some form of incarceration.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4091 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    requiring people to at least want to participate in therapy

    Good point Matthew and I would ask how does a person get to the point of wanting to participate in therapy ? In the normal world this might be driven by crisis, tragedy or a friend say you need help. I am interested in that pre-therapy process and could we more assertive about it because the fact is that those who could do the most damage when released are most likely to be the ones who do not want to participate.
    Do we not have a obligation to do all we can to bring an offender into a treatment process regardless of his initial disinclination.
    If we can't , in the interests of our children's saftey we really should lock them away forever.
    Sorry to bang on about this - its a bit personal for me. Aside from my work , my best mates son was abused by a serial sex offender who had been released , and then placed in a kindergarten as a caretaker as part of his rehabilitation, yes I was astounded as well. I took considerable lobbying on our part to get this guy back behind bars - he had done no treatment whatsoever. The abuse was not majorly traumatic but clearly this man was heading down the same path as he's always done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Stewart,

    Hall, while manifestly guilty of abhorrent behaviour & deserving of punishment, should never have been in a position to commit the acts, should have had far better "parenting skills" before being in sole charge of the infant and in an ideal world should not have become a parent until capable of forming a loving and caring bond with his child.

    How shall it be, that all your "shoulds" come to pass?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Expecting the offender’s acceptance they need help is like that Light Bulb joke.
    How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
    One. But only if the light bulb really wants to change.

    I think that’s a cope out by psychologists . Maybe a confrontational approach won’t work but we should at least be exploring the options.

    Good lord, I was about to tell that same joke. You can physically constrain a person but you can't change their mind unless they co-operate in the process.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3884 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Sorry to bang on about this – its a bit personal for me.

    You go ahead Richard. I was actually trying to dig a bit deeper before as to how we do address the difficult situations that some people sitting outside the realm of normality put society as a whole, in. I think (jmo) that preventative detention could be our answer if the cost is not an issue because I don’t want the state to start killing people. See, then I’d like the resources put toward better education from young for everyone so we are alerted earlier to problems, but that requires the whole country treating each other as equals and that aint going to happen. As I said further back , I don’t think I could decide someone else’s outcome because I do see permanent incarceration similar to torture in that all the reasons you mentioned earlier also. Hey what about hypnotism? ;)) Ok no

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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