Suzanne's Reviews > Inside the Criminal Mind

Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton E. Samenow
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Mar 29, 08


Many people react strongly to Samenow's conclusions in this book. He is simultaniously accused of being "too hard" on criminals by some, and "too soft" on criminals by others. He is "too hard" on criminals because he expects them to take full accountability for themselves and not blame their disadvantaged childhoods, abuse by parents, poverty, etc for their problems. He says there truly are "bad seeds" who are just antisocial. But he is is also accused of being "too soft" because his approach is treatment focused. I personally find him right on.

When I first read this book years ago I had a negative reaction to his ideas. But since then, I've spent the last 6 years as a nurse taking care of criminal patients. And I've come to agree with many of his principles and rely on them in my every day working life. What I love is that if criminals are responsible for their lives and are in control of them, then yes, they cannot get let "off the hook." But it also restores dignity, because they can't change their pasts, but they can change their futures. So being completely responsible for themselves gives them hope and freedom to change who they have become, if they want to. He identifies common thinking errors (Cogntive approach) that all people have. When you have too many of certain types of incorrect beliefs though, you are more likely to commit crimes. We help our clients challenge these beliefs which occur automatically most of the time. And that can help people realize when they are acting in destructive ways that will hurt them and society.

For anyone working in the criminal justice field, or in mental health care, I highly recommend this book.
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