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Can J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;51(11):692-7.

Psychopathy checklist score predicts negative events during the sentences of prisoners with Hare psychopathy: a prospective study at a German prison.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Christian Albrechts University Hospital, Kiel, Germany.



This study examined the predictive validity of the German translation of the Psychopathy Checklist-Screening Version (PCL-SV) for negative events during the course of the prison sentence of German prisoners.


Using the PCL-SV, we investigated 145 offenders in a German prison at the start of their sentences. We then compared the extreme groups identified by the PCL-SV--the high and low scorers--using a prospective design with respect to negative events and factors during the course of the sentences. This involved the standardized collection of data on both objective records of disciplinary incidents and subjective impressions from prison staff on the basis of operationalized criteria.


The high scorers were involved in significantly more disciplinary incidents and were also rated significantly less favourably by prison staff than the low scorers.


Until now, the PCL has only been shown to predict recidivism following release from prison. The results of our study show that the PCL also has predictive validity for problems during the course of the sentence. It is therefore recommended that the PCL be used routinely at the start of the prison sentence to estimate the likelihood of subsequent difficulties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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