Benign Biological Interventions to Reduce Offending

Neuroethics 13 (1):29-41 (2018)
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A considerable body of evidence now documents, beyond reasonable doubt, biological and health risk factors for crime and violence. Nevertheless, intervention and prevention efforts with offenders have avoided biological interventions, in part due to past misuses of biological research and the challenges that biological predispositions to crime raise. This article reviews the empirical literature on two biological intervention approaches, omega-3 supplementation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Emerging research on these relatively benign interventions suggests that increased omega-3 intake through dietary intervention and prefrontal upregulation using non-invasive brain stimulation may show some initial promise in reducing antisocial behavior. The ethical issues related to mandated and offered biological interventions within the criminal justice system are discussed.



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Farah Focquaert
University of Ghent