Offenders are more likely to act on their thoughts of violence leading to the commitment of serious crimes. (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Looking into why people, specifically known offenders, commit crimes have given behavioral experts a glimpse into a criminal’s mind. A recent study was able to determine a very alarming trait from offenders. It seems that an offender’s thoughts are as deadly as a serious crime they are willing and most likely to commit.
The study conducted by Matt DeLisi from Iowa State University delves deeper into the cause of serious crimes committed by people. It tackles the concept of homicidal ideation or the thoughts of committing often deadly and violent crimes before the actual crime is committed.
According to Professor DeLisi, everyone has, in one point in time of their lives, committed homicidal ideation. Saying something along the lines of “I could kill you” in a heated argument or during an extremely emotional situation is an example. However, most people,a period given to cool down would make these deadly and violent thoughts cease to exist.
But for offenders, most especially repeat offenders, these thoughts would most likely make them go act on their thoughts.
The study published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice notes that as many as 79 percent of men and 66 percent of women have homicidal thoughts or fantasies. The problem arises when these people act on their thoughts or fantasies. For correctional offenders, especially repeat offenders, their emotional instability like extreme aggressiveness, severe anger, or hostility would make them feel that other people were out to get them.
By analyzing data and offenders’ profiles, the study was able to identify that only 12 percent of offenders, in and out of prison, showed evidence of homicidal ideation. However, these relatively small number of offenders are the offenders who committed the most serious of crimes like murder, kidnapping, assault, and armed robbery.
Offenders in this group have most likely gotten arrested more than thirty-six times since the age of fourteen, have about 20 convictions and have been imprisoned for at least five times. They also repeatedly violated their probation and parole.
The study analyzed 863 psychological and presentencing reports of offenders released under federal supervision. The team of Professor DeLisi found out that homicidal ideation most likely started during childhood. According to the team of researchers, the majority of the sample data were from white men and whose common crime is the distribution of meth.
The study also emphasizes that regardless of gender, race, psychological and behavioral problems, and age of arrest, homicidal ideation is not a by-product of said conditions but stands alone as the cause and explanation of serious crimes committed.
The identification of offenders, in and out of prison, would most likely lead to the reduce the number of crimes being committed thus leading to a much safer society. It would also reduce the number of violent incidents between offenders and police officers during house-calls or arrests.
The research also recommends that appropriate mental health treatment is given to the offenders exhibiting homicidal ideation with the worst of the offenders not given the chance of walking free. A complete restructuring of guidelines regarding offenders based on homicidal ideation is also recommended.