Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition

Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition

by Stanton Samenow


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From expert witness Dr. Stanton E. Samenow, a brilliant, no-nonsense profile of the criminal mind, updated to include new influences and effective methods for dealing with hardened criminals

In 1984, this groundbreaking book offered readers an illuminating window into the workings of the criminal mind and a revolutionary approach to “habilitation.” In 2004, armed with twenty years of additional knowledge and inside, Samenow explored the subject anew, using his vast expertise to explain the thought patterns of those who commit the crimes we were most concerned with in the new millennium, such as domestic violence, Internet victimization, and terrorism.
The fields of criminal behavior have expanded, demanding another updated version, which includes an exploration of computers as a vehicle for criminal conduct; new drugs and pharmaceutical influences; exposure to the rawest forms of violence in video games, films, and television broadcasts; social media as an arena for illicit activities; and updated genetic and biological research into whether some people are “wired” to become criminals. Throughout, we learn from Samenow’s four decades of experience how truly vital it is to know who the criminal is and how he or she thinks differently. Only once equipped with that crucial understanding can we reach reasonable, compassionate, and effective solutions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804139908
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 11/04/2014
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 86,274
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

STANTON E. SAMENOW PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has spent 40 years as a researcher, clinician, consultant, and expert witness specializing in criminal behavior. He has also served as an independent evaluator in adversarial child custody disputes and has been appointed to three presidential task forces on law enforcement, victims' rights, and a drug-free America. Among numerous other national venues, he has appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, Good Morning America, and Larry King Live. In addition to Inside the Criminal Mind he is the author of Before It's Too Late and Straight Talk About Criminals.

Read an Excerpt

The Basic Myths About Criminals

Excerpted from "Inside the Criminal Mind"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Stanton Samenow.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface to the 2014 Edition xi

Prologue: Removing a Barrier to Understanding the Criminal Mind 1

1 The Failure to Identify Causes of Crime 7

2 Parents Don't Turn Children into Criminals: The Child Rejects the Parents 20

3 Peer Pressure: No Excuse for Crime 47

4 "To Hell with School" 67

5 Work and the Criminal 91

6 "Life Is a One-Way Street-My Way": Thinking Errors and the Criminal Personality 111

7 Sex for Conquest and a Buildup of the Self 134

8 Simmering Anger Flaring into Rage 159

9 Criminality Is Primary, Drugs Secondary 175

10 The Criminal as Terrorist 193

11 "Decent People" 206

12 Mental Illness, or a Criminal Personality? 225

13 Locked Up 255

14 "Rehabilitation" Revisited 274

15 To Change a Criminal 291

16 "Habilitation" or More Crime? 324

Notes 331

Index 343

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Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
garyTX More than 1 year ago
I have always looked at environment as a reason for criminal thinking and was reluctant to read this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised and learned a great deal from this book. It applies to my clients completely. Need more work in this area of criminal justice.
NotReallyHere More than 1 year ago
Nicely done and eye opening book into the minds of criminals. Well worth reading by everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Part of Left-wing theory of why people commit crime is, the 'system' turns them into criminals. This excellent book shows that that is not true, and that it is a disservice to the poor to say that their condition turns them into criminals. The truth is that the human mind is the most complex thing in the universe, it is not a 'lump of clay' that society forms and puts its imprint on. If the human mind were just a lump of clay, people would be extremely predictable. But how do you explain the kid from the ghetto who becomes a gang member, and enjoys the rush of the power that gives him, and actually enjoys abusing women and using violence, whereas his brother goes to college, law school, and then enjoys defending poor people and helping others. The answer is not 'society made them what they are today' - because they both grew up in the same societal conditions. The truth is, and the author states this, people decide very early in life what their value system will be. Some play within the rules, and some play outside of them. According to the author, criminals think of themselves are special, gifted, more deserving, and they use relativism to justify their own actions. They feel that there is right and wrong, but that it does not apply to them, because they are so special. Thus, criminals are in essence, relativists, egotists, narcissists, and they are 'grandiose'. They feel entitled to take what they want. Of course our DNA and biology plays a role there, but the author states in the book that, for example, twins studies have shown that there is a 60 %- 80% correlation between one twin's alcoholism, and the others. So, the author is not saying it is all about genes, but he also is not saying that it is not about genes. Of course, the reality lies in the fact that it is partly about genetics, but ultimately, the person decides whether he gets his kicks skydiving, or robbing banks. One good point in the book is that the author does not make a distinction between ghetto criminals and white collar, rich criminals (CEOS of companies, who lie and use relativism to justify their behavior). This is refreshing, and it actually helps the poor, because it says to them: 'being poor or underprivileged is not an excuse'. The truth is, this book places the blame where it belongs: on the criminal, and it gives the criminal a chance to change - to understand the effects of his actions, and maybe change them. Thus, prisons are not there to rehabilitate, but to punish. Ultimately, a John Malvo does not pull the trigger on his sniper rifle [the author worked for the prosecution on that case], because he is black and 'oppressed', he pulls the trigger on his rifle because he decided a long time ago that the rules don't apply to him, that he is special, and that if he wants somehting, he is entitled to take it, and that power and violence make him feel strong and powerful. One interesting thing in the book is an added chapter on terrorists. According to the author, terrorists are criminals, sociopaths, who use an ideology (Islamism) to justify the power trip that they go on. That is a very interesting new view of terrorism, too.
dodger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stanton Samenow¿s Inside the Criminal Mind is a clearly written book that rarely trails off or reads dry. It is an interesting read, and no doubt contains many truths about criminals in our society. That said, Samenow¿s presentation and portrayal of the criminal mind often seems overly simplistic and stereotypical. In his introduction, Samenow states that he was criticized for this in earlier editions of the book, yet seems to make no effort to lessen any of his stereotypes. He defends against such criticisms by saying, ¿It is important to bear in mind that, as with so much else in life, the characteristics described exist by degree. Thus, there is a spectrum...¿ However, through his wording and presentation throughout the book, Samenow doesn¿t offer much room for degrees; his delivery is very opinionated. Constantly throughout the book he infers that a certain behavior is exhibited in all criminals, not in degrees. For instance, he states that, ¿Criminals utilize jobs directly for crime.¿ Not ¿some criminals utilize jobs directly for crime¿, and ¿Criminals want to be number one sexually, just as they do in other aspects of their lives.¿ Well, who doesn¿t? Perhaps it¿s a pedantic point, but it seems over generalized to me.Inside the Criminal Mind appears to be a well-researched book, and Samenow clearly interviewed several ¿criminals¿ during his research, and he quotes them often. Sadly though, he tends to present their stories merely as anecdotes to control the pacing of his prose; rarely does the reader get to learn anything about the people presented, at least nothing that lets the reader feel anything about them other than what the author wants us to feel. When he quotes the criminals directly, it¿s done in a way that allows Samenow to deliver his point, or to confirm a hypothesis, often citing only one criminal¿s response as incontrovertible evidence that the author is correct in his assertions. Nevertheless, I found Inside the Criminal Mind to be an easy, informative, and interesting read, which I feel has provide me with a little better understanding of the workings of the criminal mind.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this book is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published back in 1984, and it ought to be required reading for counselors, psychiatrist, corrections officers, and others who have to deal with dysfunctional and criminal individuals on a regular basis. Samenow takes a no-nonsense approach to crime: Criminals become criminals because they want to be. A bad upbringing, no education, antisocial friends and drugs and alcohol don't make a criminal act the way he does -- his own choices do, and the only way to get him to change is to change his way of thinking. In the last chapter, Samenow outlines an intensive treatment program pioneered by a psychiatrist colleague that he says works with even the most hardened criminals, turning them into productive and responsible members of society.I found myself agreeing with much of Dr. Samenow has to say, and also recognizing the criminal traits in a lot of people I know well. I only wish he had included more information about his program and any long-term studies on the outcome.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a one sided view. It claims that genes are the only determining factor that criminals are just born that way. Empirical researchers has found that environment, parenting, pathology in the brain, social status, and learned behaviors are all risk contributors to a life of crime. Children who had the same bad life chose a better life because they are resilient and we need to focus on what makes them resilient and take all other studies into account.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book's primary focus is that criminals choose to be criminals and that neither society nor anything else factors in. The author demonstrates an extreme view, often contradicts himself and uses poor examples. I would not recommend this book to anyone. I wasnâ¿¿t even able to get through the whole thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is completely one sided. It simply says that criminals are criminals because they want to be...something completely disproved by every theory in criminology (except the classical school). Many factors contribute to criminality, such a social factors, parenting, peers, etc. The author is ridiculous and it is a wonder he has gotten so far in his career with such a bias viewpoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This "work" is full of flawed, circular logic. How he got it published is the real mystery. The good Dr. has some interesting points, but if conclusions were hurdles, he'd be in line for an Olympic gold medal. Some of his conclusions defy gravity with the leaps they take. His description of "criminal thinking" nails the criminal cold, the problem is that it also describes everybody else in the world as well. So, either we ALL think criminally every day of our lives, or his conclusion is way off the track. Which, disproves his theory that criminals have a separate thinking, logic, than the rest of us. If a criminal says he didn't do "it", then he's lying by commission and in denial. If he says he didn't do everything he's accused of, he's lying by omission and is minimizing. If he admits to everything they accuse him of without reservation, he's "lying by assent" and in a very dangerous (for us) "zero state" where he's capable of almost anything! His theories are full of holes big enough to drive trucks through. The only thing this "book" proves without a doubt, is how far a person is willing to go in terms of time, effort, and imagination to try and prove a ridiculous and obviously flawed theory. Maybe if he "works" on it for a few more decades, maybe then, the laws of rational logic will be suspended for a brief time and fate will shine of his "amazing work". Until then, his "work" and theories are only for the simple or lazy. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one, unless you like fiction. Think I'm overly harsh? Read the peer reviews. That this "work" is touted in public as scholarly, is the real "criminal thinking".