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One of the peculiarities of the DSM IV and the DSM as a whole, is vagueness with respect to what consistutes criminal psychiatriatry.


For instance, is the breaking of laws an actual criminal offense ? By the definition of the DSM, it is.


A different viewpoint, one that strictly adheres to a need for a medical definition of illness, rather than a legal definition of illness, would view the definition of illegal conduct as not psychiatrically treatable, as any violation of law is a social, rather than a medical phenomena.


If we use a very different definition, we would look at the illegal conduct, and determine if it represents a loss of funcitionality. In other words, if we examine the existential definitions of illness, we can see that in many cases, not breaking the law is a form of psychiatric illness. It may be, indeed, that in our society if not in most indistural societies, laws enforce such a loss of existential functionality.


Defining existential functionality, and reviewing those portions of the law that are consistent and inconsistent with it, than allows us to make a determination as to how to procede with correctional psychiatry.


Existential issues define, then functionality. And it is that concept of functionality that allows us to look at the criminal mind with a perspective that is consistent with the basic medical issues.


Here is one example. Does the refusal to obey an unjust law constitute sociopathy. The obvious answer is, no.


On the other hand, is theft sociopathic ? Yes, despite all social sanctions. For this reason, we might simply describe any philosophical system that justifies theft (or passes it by as an unimportant issue) as, at heart sociopathic.


Drawing such a conclusion then is helpful, for it allows us to understand the medical features of sociopathy.


Why ? Because socially sanctioned theft is sociopathy, and thus, the criminal mind can then be seen as, in many cases, as a socially santioned experience.

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