Psychopathology and Criminality

Understanding the psychology of an individual has been found to be the key to understanding their criminal behaviors.  As a result, the police force and other crime-fighting agencies are heavily investing in technology and psychopathology to help profile the behavior and conduct of criminals as well as the cause of their aggressive behavior. According to science, psychopathology helps experts to understand the development of abnormal behavior, feelings, and thoughts in an individual which may trigger their criminal conduct (Stirling & Hellewell, 2017). The primary personality disorder that is often associated psychiatry and abnormal behavior in people is psychopathy. According to research, psychopathy can lead to increased risks for antisocial behavior, crime, and violence.  Further research shows that it is common to encounter such events in the field of criminal justice depending on the signs and symptoms of this personality disorder. Notably, psychopathology can be categorized into four major categories that include primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, controlled and inhibited group psychopathy. It is worth knowing that each category of psychopathology exhibits different signs and symptoms (Stanghellini & Rosfort, 2015). This assignment will focus on identifying the different ways through which psychopathology can enhance criminal and antisocial behavior in an individual.

Question 1: Explain the mental state of the offender and the two most likely mental illnesses that are affecting him.

For decades and centuries, the increased criminal behavior in most individuals has been associated with psychopathology disorders.  From the details of the case study provided, it is safe to say that the current behavior of Mr. Albondigas can be identified as psychopathy. The fact that he is holding two facility maintenance personal captive and threatens to kill them if they don’t help in sending away the aliens in the facility is a clear indication that he has a mental illness.  In a real sense, there are no aliens in the cell block despite the fact that Mr. Albondigas can hear them planning on how to attack him .  In the current mental state, the offender has lost contact with the reality, and this is the primary reason that he can see and hear voices that are not there and does not exist in the real world.  This means that he is living in another mental world where everything and anything are possible.



One of the possible mental illness that might be affecting his judgment and thinking is schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia can be identified as a chronic and severe mental illness that affects how an individual thinks, feels and behaves. According to research, schizophrenia is a devastating illness that fits under the broader category of psychosis and is characterized by loss of touch with the real world (Maisel, 2017). This mental illness can manifest itself in an individual in many ways, such as false beliefs that are widely known as delusions as well as the false perception widely known as hallucinations and irrational conduct and thinking.further research shows that only one percent of the entire global population suffers from this devastating mental illness. This illness is known to strike between the ages of 16 and 30 and men tend to show the signs and symptoms at a tender age compared to women. However, it is worth noting that this disorder does not choose between male and female and can strike any gender (Tsuang, Faraone, & Glatt, 2014).  Additionally, it is known to develop slowly to the extent that an individual may not be aware that he or she has schizophrenia. However, on other occasions, the infection can strike faster and develop quickly like in the case study provided.

Some of the major symptoms of this infection include:

  1. Delusions – patients are likely to display false beliefs where they may feel that others are trying to kill them, force them to do something or control them remotely.
  2. Hallucinations – this a stage where the patients hear voices, feel and smell things that are not there. However, people suffering from this disorder can have a wide range of hallucinations (Tsuang, Faraone, & Glatt, 2014).
  • Thought disorder – this is a stage where a patient lacks logical thinking and he or she may jump from one topic to another without any reason making it hard to follow their flow of thoughts.

Personality disorders

The second mental illness that might be affecting the thinking and behavior of the offender is personality disorders. The general definition of personality disorders shows that personality disorders lead to an enduring trend of inner experience and conduct that moves away from the expectations of a person’s culture.  Therefore, personality disorders can be said to cause pervasive and inflexible conduct that has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood. In other terms personality disorders can be described as that category of mental illness that causes a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving (Paris, 2010). Notably, patients suffering from this infection tend to have some trouble associating with the situation, events, and people. As a result, they have a major challenge in relationships, social activities, work or school.

Some of the major signs and symptoms of this infection include:

  1. Odd, eccentric thinking, and behavior such as pervasive mistrust and suspicion of others and their motives towards them.
  2. Unjustified beliefs that others are trying to harm them, deceive them, control them or even force them to do things that they do not want.
  3. The perception of innocent remarks or non-threatening events as personal insults and attacks (Paris, 2010).
  4. Hesitancy to confide in others as a result of unreasonable fears that other people around them will use the information against them.

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Question 2 Explain what types of medical personnel you would like to have at the scene, and why?

Having access to the right medical practitioner is important for the treatment of mental illnesses and disorders. As identified earlier on, personality disorders substantially affect individual thinking and behavior.  Therefore, to be in a possible to help Mr. Albondigas to calm down and release the hostages, I would seek the help of a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist can be defined as a medical professional who specializes in psychiatry, a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses. Notably, the psychiatrist must actively examine the patients to determine if the mental disorder of their patient is caused by physical illness, a mix of both physical and mental ailments or purely psychiatric (Widiger, 2016). The presence of a clinical psychiatrist in the cell block is paramount considering that he or she is in a position to analyze the offender’s mental health status by talking to him. This is crucial in understanding the best course of action and to ensure that Mr. Albondigas releases all the hostages unharmed. Given his or her professional background, a psychiatrist should be in a position to provide guidelines on how to deal with the offender. By understanding the mental health of the offender, it would be easy to convince him that he is safe and that there are no aliens in the facility and no one is trying to harm him. However, the guidelines provided by the psychiatrist must be followed to the letter to ensure that we do not escalate the situation and provoking the offender to harm the facility employees (Widiger, 2016).

On the other hand, it would be prudent to seek the services of a psychologist. Psychology can be defined as a field of science that focuses on understanding the behavior and the mind of an individual. Clinical psychologists can assess, examine and treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Therefore, seeking the services of a clinical psychologist would help in examining the mental health status of the offender and provide a blueprint for how to deal with him based on the results of his or her examination (Ragusea, 2013). By understanding the mind of the offender, psychologist stands a better chance of predicting his next move which in turn helps to prepare in advance in the case that the situation escalates.

It is worth noting that most of the time psychologists and psychiatrist are often confused to have the same meaning. Despite the fact that both professional focuses on the study of the human brain, thoughts, emotions, and feelings, they are far much different. For example, a psychologist cannot write treatment prescription for their patients.  Instead, they recommend that the patients see a psychiatrist to get the prescriptions. On the other hand, a psychiatrist cannot offer counseling and mental health therapy, and thus, they are forced to refer them to psychologists and psychotherapists for counseling and therapy (Ragusea, 2013). However, it is advisable to have the professional advice of both professionals to get the best results.  Therefore, in this case, I would seek the services of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. They are likely to give more accurate results and solution to the problem than when working with one of them.

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Question 3: Relate why you think that, if the deadline is reached without a solution, whether Mr. Albondigas will hurt the maintenance personnel or not. Explain your answer.

I think that if the deadline is reached without a solution, Mr. Albondigas will hurt the maintenance personnel.  Given their unpredictable behavior and conduct, it is fair to say that Mr. Albondigas will hurt the employees. As stated earlier, people with schizophrenia have beliefs in things that are not real and tend to hear voices that do not exist because they are all in their heads.  Having lost the contact with the real world and suffering from delusions and hallucination, Mr. Albondigas will hurt the employees.  According to research, violent behavior in patients suffering from a personality disorder and schizophrenia is comparatively rare.  However, in the event that a patient is suffering from psychosis as a result of hallucinations and delusions in their thinking, there is a high chance that they will exhibit violent behavior (McCarthy & Hay, 2015).  When the delusions are more influential in a patient than hallucinations, Mr. Albondigas will display dangerous and unpredictable conduct and may end up harming the two employees. Additionally, the fact that it is difficult to establish a logic conversation with the patient,  as they tend to jump from one subject to another, it may become difficult to convince him to let them free or in the worst case escalate the situation and end up harming them.  In general, I feel that Mr. Albondigas can harm the hostages if the deadline elapses with no solution.

Question 4: Articulate the persons whom you would like to bring to the scene for interviews to help with information that you can use to talk to Mr. Albondigas.

Crisis negotiation or what is largely referred to as hostage negotiation situation is important and critical process considering that the lives of the hostages often rests on the shoulders of the negotiator. It is worth noting that the slightest mistake by the negotiator can escalate the situation which in turn would lead to the death of the hostages.  Therefore, it is prudent to proceed with precision when dealing with kidnappers to ensure that they are not upset and develop the feeling that they are being manipulated or controlled.  Therefore, below are some of the individuals I would like to bring to the scene for interviews to help with information to use in these negotiations.

Mr. Albondigas’ family members

Despite the fact that Mr. Albondigas has been in the correctional facility, the correctional facility officials may fail to provide critical information regarding his past such as medical information and behaviors. For example, having his parents by my side would help me understand whether this is the first time that he has this mental illness.  If not, when was the last time he had such an episode and what they did to calm him down and have him listen to them?   Additionally, the presence of his wife would be critical to the success of this mission.  At times, it might be hard to open to parents on what is going on with his life, but easy to open up to his partner (Jones, n.d).  Therefore, their information can be crucial in understanding his past medical conditions and behaviors.  Notably, records can be used to predict the future as well as defining the best course of action to be used to solve the problem.

His friends

Additionally, his friends can provide vital information that can be used in this situation to find the best way out.  According to research, friends are one of the closest people to an individual who may know the secrets of a person that are not known by the parents and partners. On most occasions, mental disorder people have been found to hide the truth from their parents and friends but find it simple to open up to friends who can understand. Therefore, Mr. Albondigas’ friends may have important information regarding his behavior and conduct or medical conditions that he may hide from his parents and wife (Houghton, n.d). This information can be used to draft a plan on how to rescue the hostages without anyone getting injured. Friends have been found to be vital in a hostage rescue mission, considering that they can assist in solving the situation by talking to the kidnappers or provide information that can be used by the negotiator to solve the situation.

His doctor, if any

His doctor can also provide vital information that can solve the situation. Research shows that when mental disorder patients are ashamed of their mental conditions, they tend to take matters into their own hands and go to visit their doctors alone.  Therefore, Mr. Albondigas’ doctor can provide critical information regarding his behavioral patterns in the case that he had visited him or her in the past. Additionally, doctors tend to understand people with a mental health condition better than anyone else considering that this is their field of profession (Houghton, n.d). Therefore, the information provided by doctors can be helpful in the designing and implementing the next course of action.

Question 5: Explain your approach as the negotiator when speaking with Mr. Albondigas, and why you would take that approach.

Hostage negotiation is all about psychology and according to research, the most successful crisis negotiators are among the most successful practical psychologists in the world today. Notably, a typical hostage situation like that presented in the case study, lives are at imminent risk of violent and painful deaths in the hands of delusional mental patients (Maude, 2014).

Therefore, to be in a position to rescue the two correctional facility maintenance employees, I would take a holistic and psychological approach to this scenario. I would strive to customize my communication approach depending on the understanding of the behavior of the offender. The first step in this process that would determine the success of my process is by minimizing the background distractions. This can be done by ensuring that there is only one person who takes the lead to negotiate and that is me.  Additionally, I would ensure that only one person speaks at a time and there is no background radio or road noise.  Then the second step would focus on opening the dialogue with an introductory statement of purpose.  This statement is meant to establish myself to the offender and to ensure that he understands that I am there to help him and to ensure that no one gets hurt (Maude, 2014).  However, it is also prudent to keep the introduction simple and direct to the point to avoid distractions or misunderstanding. Below are some of the core skills I would use to ensure that nobody gets hurt in the process.

  1. Listen actively – active listening would be important in this process as it would give me an insight of what the offender wants and thinks that he can get. Active listening is characterized by the use of open-ended questions, emotional labeling, silencing, and paraphrasing. Active listening can give me an opportunity to gather important information from the offer while at the same time showing empathy and rapport (Baruch & Zarse, 2012).
  2. Show control – research shows that an individual in a crisis often feels that they have no control. However, by making the final decision with the help of the offender, it can make him feel in control. For example, Mr. Albondigas have to give a little for him to gain a little. By helping each other to arrive at a solution, we can arrive at a win-win situation.


From the above-detailed study, it is safe to state that hostage negotiation is important, but a critical process, especially in the event that the offender is suffering from mental illnesses.  In the case study, it is easy to see that Mr. Albondigas is suffering from a mental disorder, which makes it even harder to negotiate.  However, with the help of a qualified psychiatrist, psychologist, family members and friends, t is easy to gather information regarding his health status and then design and implement the best course of action.  However, to arrive at a win-win situation, I need to use a psychological approach to negotiate for the release of the two employees.


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Stirling, J., & Hellewell, J. E. (2017). Psychopathology. Taylor & Francis.

Tsuang, M. T., Faraone, S. V., & Glatt, S. J. (2014). Schizophrenia. Oxford: OUP Oxford.

Widiger, T. A. (2016). Editorial for personality disorders: Theory, research, and treatment. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 7(1), 1-1. doi:10.1037/per0000167