Monday 1 April 2013


CHILD  KILLERS:  What  treatment  is  suitable?  


It has been said that in the United States, as many as one-third of the homeless population are mentally ill. I believe that those figures are applicable in Canada also.

It has been estimated that as many as 740,000 people are homeless in the U.S. on any given night in 2011 which could mean that 233,333 were and probably still are suffering from some form of mental illness. Of those that are suffering from a mental illness, as many as 40 % are suffering from a serious mental illness. That comes to at least 93,000 severely mentally ill persons who are roaming the streets of the United States every day. And what is really frightening, is you can’t always determine if they are mentally ill unless they commit some particular act that stands out as being grossly distinctive.

Between 150,000 and 200,000 of the homeless have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This is the equivalent to the population of any of these cities: Dayton, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Providence, Rhode Island, Richmond, Virginia and Salt Lake City, Utah.

At any given time, there are many more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in mental hospitals. Community mental health centers, where the homeless might receive help, are chronically underfunded, and are often on the budget-cutting chopping block. Mentally ill homeless people present special problems for health care workers because many of them don’t continue attending the facilities or taking the medicine or renewing the medicine that they should be ingesting.

Several different studies and calculation methods suggest that as many as 1,000 homicides or more a year are committed by people with untreated severe mental illness who were walking the streets in the US. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law reported that 10 percent of the homicides in the US in any given year are committed by people who are untreated for their severe mental diseases.

Currently, at least ten percent of incarcerated individuals are mentally ill. There are 1.25 million mentally ill inmates in the U.S. justice system, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. That's compared to only 40,000 in mental hospitals. Believe me when I tell you that prisons are not properly equipped with psychiatrists and psychologists to treat these mentally ill prisoners.    The sickest prisoners are only allowed out twice a week for 15 minutes to take a shower. And many of them are finally released back into society, not only not cured of their mental diseases but also very angry at society.

One prison has only two psychiatrists for 1,300 mentally ill prisoners and even then they only meet with the doctor once every six months via close-circuit TV. How can anyone really believe that these prisoners are going to be released as being cured of their mental diseases? In all likelihood, they will have become worse because of their incarceration.

I spent a year doing group counseling and individual counseling with mentally ill prisoners in a correctional facility and even then, I knew that I hadn’t done much to help them even when I saw them personally because I would only see them a couple of times. The social worker spent most of her time arranging for their treatment after their release from the facility.

Robert Wayne Kribs, a tall bearded drifter who went by the name Stretcher spent his early years in reformatories and a mental institution. He wasn’t cured of his mental illnesses.  No one was surprised that he wound up as a murderous child rapist when in 1971; he helped to murder a shoeshine boy in Toronto by holding the boy’s legs while another man forced the boy’s head under water in a filthy sink. He pleaded guilty to 1st degree murder. His lawyer, Gordon Goldman, tried to persuade the trial judge to send Kribs to a mental hospital for psychiatric treatment. Instead he was sent to a penitentiary. While he was there, he sought psychiatric help but the prison psychiatrist refused to see him. He publicly stated that there was no point in treating a man who is never going to get out of prison. I should add at this point that Kribs is still in prison. In any case, the refusal of the psychiatrist to treat this killer infuriated me so I wrote a letter to the Solicitor General of Canada who amongst other responsibilities, is in charge of the federal prisons in Canada. I said that the decision to refuse treatment to Kribs was outrageous. The solicitor general agreed with me and he ordered the psychiatrist to begin treating Kribs for his mental illness.                 

The question that must be answered is; “Was he cured?” When he applied for parole after being in custody for 31 years, the National Parole Board said in 2002 in part in their decision;                                                        

“The psychiatrist concluded that you suffer from Anti-Social Personality Disorder and Pedophilia (sexually attracted to children) and that you are significantly psychopathic. Other actuarial measures indicate that you pose a high risk of both sexual and violent reoffending.”

The Board concluded that he would be too high a risk to release back into the community. He has so far been incarcerated for the past 42 years and he is still in custody.                                                                                                       

When evaluating the predictive accuracy of specific risk factors for child molesters, the risk factors examined are: amount of contact with children, degree of sexual preoccupation with children, impulsivity, juvenile and adult antisocial behavior, frequency of prior sexual offenses, paraphilia, (sexual arousal towards children etc,) history of alcohol use, social competence, and victim gender. As you can see, the evaluation must be concise. But often, it is not.                                                                                                                                

Jerry Brudos when he was 17 in 1956 was committed to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem. On April 16 of the following year, one Psychiatrist wrote of Jerry “There is no evidence of suicide, homicide, or destructive urges.” He was released before the end of the year. Jerry Brudos would later abduct, pose, mutilate, kill, then rape Linda Slawson, Jan Whitney, Karen Sprinker and Linda Salee before his second capture and incarceration. All of the deaths involved extreme acts of sexual sadism.  The lack of an erect penis on the part of a male offender is no true sign of a lack of male sexual arousal during such an incident. Nor does such an assault have to be the product of arousal at all. The thrill is what excites them. That is very hard to eradicate from a killer’s mind, if not impossible. Jerry Brudos's clear escalation of fantasy and behavior, which included sadism, was a prime indicator of dangerousness. His fantasy was a long time in the brewing. His behavior was deliberate, fueled by the fantasy. He liked what the fantasy made him feel, and he wanted to feel more.

The question begged by the Brudos case is very basic: Could Jerry Brudos's later crimes have been predicted by any known factors and then subsequently any recidivism prevented by continued incarceration? Obviously both Brudo’s and Krib’s psychiatric treatment did nothing to cure these two criminals of their mental illnesses.  However the psychiatrist who studied Kribs was right in his conclusions whereas the psychiatrist who studied Brudo was totally wrong.        
Those two sex offenders who are most likely to do it again. They are offenders who can sustain violence and sexual arousal at the same time. They have an above average intelligence, they have a desire to cause the victim pain for their own sexual pleasure, they have a rich, deeply developed fantasy life and they are most often resistant to treatment of any kind. If they are released from their perspective institutions, as was Jerry Brudos at age 17, they are the most likely to do it again. By applying this classification to such individuals, it is possible to screen them from re-entry into society. The subsequent reduction of recidivism would represent a significant decrease in those kinds of crimes.

Self-reporting tends to be a heavily relied upon method of treatment for most psychiatrists when assessing offender progress. This method assumes that the offender wants to get well. That is rarely the case with a violent sex offender since both the thrill and the urge remains with them for the most part even after treatment.

The violent sex offender is a manipulator. He uses self-reporting to his advantage. He knows how to get his psychiatrist to like him. He is a model inmate. He is a model patient. His specialty is impression management getting his psychiatrist to buy into his con. Violent sex offenders are masters of impression management. They know just what to say to their psychiatrists in order to appear healthy and likable to their psychiatrists and naïve psychiatrists who hope that their treatment is successful, make the wrong conclusions about the possible risk factors that are unseen. The most sadistic and prolific violent serial sex offenders can fool their respective psychiatrists quite easily. Many such offenders have been under the care of psychiatrists, who coincidentally believed them to be making excellent progress when all the while, they are thinking about killing and raping human beings. Psychiatrists tend not to be very objective about dangerousness assessment of the killers they deal with. Further, it is extremely difficult to interpret what is really going on in a killer’s mind.

A 2002 study by the United States Department of Justice indicated that recidivism rates among sex offenders was 5.3 percent; that is, about 1 in 19 of released sex offenders were later arrested for another sex crime. In the largest and most comprehensive study ever done of prison recidivism, the Justice Department found that sex offenders were in fact less likely to reoffend than other criminals. The 2003 study of nearly 10,000 men convicted of rape, sexual assault, and child molestation found that sex offenders who were released from custody had a re-arrest rate 25 percent lower than for all other criminals. Part of the reason is that serial sex offenders—those who pose the greatest threat—rarely get released from prison although some are released thereby posing a continuing risk to society.

Dennis Stanworth was a member of the notorious class of '72. More than 100 death row inmates were spared the gas chamber in 1972 after the California Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional. His classmates all got life sentences, including the likes of serial killer Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. But not all served their full sentences and some who were released went on to commit new crimes.

In January 2013, Stanworth, who killed two Pinole girls in 1966, and raped four other women in the Bay Area became the third person paroled from death row to be accused of killing again as a free man. All three of those cases involved Bay Area slayings. Police say Stanworth called them and admitted to killing his 90-year-old mother in his Vallejo home about two months earlier. This killer should never have been released from prison.

Robert Lee Massie, former death row inmate from San Francisco, also killed only months after his parole release in 1978. He was again condemned and later executed in 2001.

Many years ago in Quebec, Canada, a sex killer murdered two young boys and after conviction, he was sentenced to death. He was reprieved and years later released from prison. Her then raped and murdered two more young boys. He was sentenced to life and later murdered in prison. He should never have been released from prison in the first place.

Davon Crawford told a judge in 2005 that he was ready to be a law-abiding citizen who would not let society down if he was released from prison. “I swear to you from the bottom of my heart that I 'WILL NOT' let you down” This is the statement that Crawford wrote to Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo as part of a motion for release. Crawford, who was freed in 2007, shot himself in the head when confronted by police in the bathroom of a house not far from the house where his wife, along with his sister-in-law and her three young children were found dead.

I could go on and on but I will simply say that in my opinion, all child killers should never, ever be released from prison no matter what their psychiatrists say. To release them is to put society at risk again.







No comments: