Fox News reported today that Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in the town of Orient at 9:20 p.m. local time. Department spokeswoman Jo Ellen Smith stated that Castro was being held in protective custody. Protective custody and suicide watch are different in that protective custody involves inmate checks every thirty minutes and suicide watch entails constant surveillance.
On August 1, NBC News reported that Ariel Castro's statement in court, in which he repeatedly said, “I am not a monster,” showed signs of a criminal sociopath whose narcissism does not allow him to express remorse, experts say. Castro's attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of Castro completed while he was at the Cuyahoga County Jail. During an interview last month after Castro's conviction, Schlachet and attorney Craig Weintraub said their client suffered from sociopathic disorder.
Sociopathic personality disorder is a term commonly used to refer to people with a pattern of traits that would currently be labeled antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which a person's ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are abnormal and can be very dangerous and destructive.
Horrific crimes such as Castro's leave the public questioning how someone could become such a monster. What would cause an individual to develop this personality disorder? "Abnormal Psychology", (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2007), discusses the three most compelling explanations for the development of antisocial personality disorder. These include the biological perspective, psychological perspective, and sociocultural perspective. Each perspective is further explained below.
Researchers have found numerous biological factors involved with criminal behavior. Different brain abnormalities are cited as possible causes of antisocial personality disorder, including defects in the prefrontal lobes of the cerebral cortex. These areas of the brain are responsible for planning future activities and in questioning the moral implication's of one's actions. Genetics may be a cause of these abnormalities. Several studies of family inheritance patterns show that there is a decent heritability of criminality and psychopathy.
This perspective examines the relationship between neuropsychological deficits and an individuals inability to show the normal response of anxiety when subjected to aversive stimuli. Studies have revealed that psychopathic individuals are unable to emotionally feel fear or anxiety. Another psychological perspective regards low self-esteem as a factor in antisocial personality disorder. Children with low self-esteem often feel the need to prove their competence and may do this by engaging in aggressive acts.
Sociocultural perspectives focus on the family, early environment, and socialization experiences that can lead individuals to develop a psychopathic lifestyle. The transmission of antisocial personality disorder occurs over multiple family generations. Inappropriate childrearing, inconsistent discipline, arguments between parents, and childhood abuse have all been identified as factors in the development of antisocial personality disorder.