Shrunk: Crime and Disorders of the Mind by Lorene Shyba

Shrunk: Crime and Disorders of the Mind

EditorLorene Shyba, J. Thomas DalbyForeword byLisa Ramshaw

Paperback | November 3, 2011

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SHRUNK is a collection of true cases by eminent Canadian and international forensic psychologists and psychiatrists facing the tough topic of mental illness in the criminal justice system.

About The Author

Lorene Shyba, MFA PhD Lorene Shyba has worked in publishing for over three decades with expertise in writing and editing, print and web design, and video production. She co-edited, with C.D. Evans, the first book in Durvile Publications’ True Cases series Tough Crimes: True Cases by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers. Her doctoral degree ...

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Title:Shrunk: Crime and Disorders of the MindFormat:PaperbackDimensions:276 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 3, 2011Publisher:Durvile PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0994735200

ISBN - 13:9780994735201

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From the Author

The authors would like to share excerpts from Shrunk: Crime and Disorders of the MindForeword by Dr. Lisa RamshawA few years ago, a Toronto man ran over a police officer with a snowplow, killing him. The day before the jury began to consider its verdict, Rob Ford, the infamous then-Mayor of Toronto, called in to a local radio show to complain about the ‘not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder’ (NCR) defence. Ford talked about how it hurt to see the guy go scot-free and asserted that if you killed someone and acted mentally disturbed chances of freedom were pretty much assured. After the man was found NCR, and was to be sent to a forensic psychiatric hospital instead of to prison, the hockey commentator Don Cherry echoed Ford’s thoughts, posting on Twitter that “it seems if you kill someone and act mentally disturbed then you can be let free.” But people with psychotic disorders do not ‘act’ mentally disturbed; they are mentally disturbed. John Kastner, who produced and directed the documentaries of tragic crimes and forgiveness NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (2013), and Out of Mind Out of Sight (2014), put it well by asking, ‘Do we punish anybody else for an illness? A truck driver has a heart attack and kills ten people. Is he a criminal?’“David Milgaard: Wrongful Conviction and Tunnel Vision” by Dr. Patrick BaillieI don’t mean  be taken as doubting that David displayed bizarre, irrational, potentially psychotic symptoms on multiple occasions during his twenty-three years in custody. At times, his sleep was seriously disrupted by anxiety over his case; at times, he accessed prison brew or other substances that might have influenced his behaviour. Likely, at times, he was psychotic. My concern relates to how those symptoms were then viewed in terms of his risk for ‘re-offence’, especially when the only delusion repeatedly cited was the one relating to David being wedded to his contention that he was innocent regarding the death of the young nurse.“Clifford Olson Unplugged” by Dr. J. Thomas DalbyOlson wanted desperately to be the most notorious serial killer of all time and had registered the titles of two books by himself; “Profile of a Serial Killer” and “Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer: A Profile.” Official copyright certificates were issued with these titles despite the fact that there were no books written and thankfully there never would be. This self-delusion, that he was an ‘author’ and uniquely tainted criminal was just another clue to his aberrant personality. He claimed that he was negotiating a publication contract in the range of three and a half million dollars for his literary works. Even in prison, Olson continued his constant antisocial behaviour .... He continued to taunt other inmates about his special privileges. When I went through some of his confiscated correspondence, Olson had enticed young schoolgirls, who apparently wanted the excitement of corresponding with a serial killer, to send Polaroid pictures of themselves in various stages of undress.“The Bodies in the Barrel Case” by Dr. Jack WhiteWere there a law of human behaviour (akin to Newton’s third law of motion) — that for every (human) action, there is an equal and opposite (human) reaction, then Wagner’s behaviour can be explained and understood. His action of violent killing was a human reaction to his extreme suffering in childhood. This was certainly not how the Australian Courts viewed the behaviour, but it may be how many people who have been victims of child abuse may view it.“The Case of Luka Rocco Magnotta” by Dr. Joel WattsIn the various media reports on Magnotta up to that point, I had heard that he might have a mental illness.  As such, I was somewhat sceptical of the information provided by Dr. Barth.  I was likely also biased in this way due to the seemingly organized and planned nature of Jun Lin’s murder, the video’s production and Magnotta’s escape to Europe. I knew that psychotic individuals are capable of planning and organized behaviour, but my forensic training had taught me to consider the possibility that he was faking ‘mad’, especially given the seriousness of his case and charges. My scepticism was on high alert when I met him, despite his presentation being just like Dr. Barth had said. I was surprised by how dramatically unwell Magnotta appeared.  I thought that perhaps he was skilfully putting on ‘a show’. Nagging at the back of my mind, however, was the fact that he would have had to be an exceedingly good actor to pull off such a convincing presentation of psychosis.“The Carnation Killers: Folie à deux” by Dr. Donald DuttonJoe never claimed that he was not the shooter and originally the plan was to enter the finding of shared psychotic disorder as a ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity’ plea at the guilt phase of the trial. For some unknown reason, the judge ruled against that and we were forced to present it as ‘Diminished Capacity’ at the penalty phase. In the United States, a ‘diminished capacity’ plea differs in important ways from ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’. ‘Reason of insanity’ is an affirmative defence to crimes. That is, a successful plea of insanity will, in most states, result in a verdict of ‘not guilty’ and commission the defendant to a mental institution. ‘Diminished capacity,’ on the other hand, merely results in the defendant being convicted of a lesser offense in the guilt phase of the trial or, in the penalty phase as not being fully morally responsible for his crime. The jury split on the Death Penalty and Joe’s life was spared.“Catathymic Murder and Necrophilia” by Dr. Marc NescaEventually, the sounds of the victim began to gradually penetrate John’s consciousness and he became fully aware of the situation. At that point, the victim was badly injured but still alive. Instead of stopping, John killed her. He explained that he wanted to silence the victim as he found the sounds she was making intolerable. He then stood, surveyed the situation, and calmly dragged the victim to the bed, where he positioned her as she was found and performed various sex acts on the body. He then drove to the police station and confessed to the crime. Instead of panic or guilt, John experienced relief in the immediate aftermath of this crime.“A Battered Wife Kills” by Dr. Louise OlivierFacts that became apparent during the court case when reconstructing the few minutes before the death of the husband are the following: Mrs. M went to the main bedroom in the house but instead of fetching her pyjamas and pillow and leaving the house (which was her conscious intension) she simply, in a dissociative fugue state, went to the safe in the main bedroom, removed her service firearm – a Vektor Z88 9 mm pistol (which according to South African law she had to keep in the safe while not on duty), walked back to the sitting room and shot her husband point blank in front of the other people in the sitting room without displaying any emotion or saying anything. She then dropped the pistol and went to place herself in one of the chairs in the sitting room and looked withdrawn but did not react to the pandemonium that had broken loose around her.“Vince Li” by Dr. Jeffrey WaldmanTo someone who is psychotic, their experiences are their reality. They are responding in a way that makes sense based on what they believe is going on around them, no matter how bizarre or unrealistic it may seem to others — and the potential for that violent episode exists depending on the content of the psychotic person’s experiences and beliefs. For Mr. Li, his symptoms had persisted for three years before they reached the intensity where he resorted to violence. He was living with the belief that he was the ‘Chinese Jesus’ and that his mission on earth was being gradually communicated to him by God. “The Tina Eisnor Murder Case” by Dr. Stephen Porter and Tianna DilleyA troubling aspect of this case is that the Wayne Eisnor who was convicted of first-degree murder is not the ‘old’ Wayne Eisnor. It appears, ironically, that Eisnor’s self-sustained brain injury had a therapeutic effect by somehow transforming him into a nicer, more gentle individual. In the field of psychology, there have been many documented cases of major personality changes due to brain injury, although not usually in the direction of naughty to nice. One well-documented case is that of Phineas Gage, who improbably survived an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe. Phineas, who had once been a dependable, pleasant man, reportedly changed into an impulsive, irresponsible, aggressive individual. In the case of Eisnor, we theorize that his personality shifted in the reverse direction. This begs the question: if a person’s long-standing personality characteristics are suddenly and drastically altered are they still considered the ‘same person’ as before? Should this ‘new’ person be subjected to punishment for criminal actions he or she perpetrated when they were the ‘old’ person?“A Cat-and-Mouse Game” by Dr. Sven Å. ChristiansonThe convicted serial killer Sture Ragnar Bergwall, alias Thomas Quick, whom the Swedish people had followed in the media for fifteen years as the personification of evil, suddenly declared himself innocent of eight murders he had been convicted of in six separate trials held between 1994 to 2001. He played a cat-and-mouse game with justice where he provided two versions of the truth. In the first version, he admitted to many murders, claiming at one time up to thirty. In the second version, he took back these confessions. No matter which version he represented, signs of a psychopathic personality, sexual deviation, and sadism were obvious in his makeup. The genesis of Bergwall’s retracted confessions was his association with Hannes Råstam, an investigative journalist whose specialty was tracking down false confessions of convicted offenders. Two to five years after Bergwall and Råstam first met, and with massive media support, decisions were made to refer each of the cases to the Swedish Court of Appeal. Prosecutors decided to withdraw public prosecution in all of these cases, and subsequently, in 2014, Bergwall was released from a high security clinic as a free man. “Not Criminally Responsible; Or Not” by Dr. Barry Cooper and J. KanipayorMr. Tupan asked that subsequent interviews transpire in the mornings so he could spend his afternoons outside with his peers. “I want to enjoy the outdoors … it helps with my healing,” is the way he put it. Although there were suspicions at the time, it was only after all of the interviews were completed that it was discovered that Mr. Tupan had been trafficking methamphetamine in the afternoons. In the afternoon interviews, he was concerned with completing the session by a certain time, often looking at his large, bright and flashy watch as that time approached.“A Day in Mental Health Court”  by Mr. Justice Richard D. SchneiderIt took me a moment to make the connection. The wild and crazy Miss Shaw had not been to court for several weeks, or at least not while I was presiding, and I had completely forgotten about her. We sometimes have as many as eighty accused on a list in one day and many are quite unwell. So, while I was eventually able to recall ‘the other Miss Shaw’, she did not really stand out in my mind. What stood out in my mind now was the contrast between the Miss Shaw presently before me and the Miss Shaw that I’d recalled from several weeks before. The transformation was remarkable. A completely different person was now before me. Once the dots were connected in my slowly grinding mind I was absolutely flabbergasted. The young lady before me looked like a Bay Street lawyer, almost too neat and tidy to have fit in well with the regular criminal lawyer ‘rat pack’.  I couldn’t contain myself.“Phil, Eddie, and Margaret” by Dr. David DawsonNow Margaret drops in unannounced quite regularly. She stays a while. Sometimes she sings a hymn. Sometimes she babbles incoherently. Sometimes her ramblings are interrupted with asides to God. Upon His silent instructions she continues or alters her current discourse. Sometimes she brings jars of liquid, which she claims contain all the nutrients any human should need. She wants to teach the patients of the hospital her survival skills, her nutritional knowledge. Sometimes when she has sung loudly I realize she is drunk. I am always fascinated by the way she constructs a sentence. She uses some combination of Germanic inversion and Schizophrenic association.“Taming the Lion” by Dr. Lawrence EllerbyDarren’s progression to violence began with spending time in his head ruminating about the abuse he had endured and fantasizing about revenge and becoming the one with the power, control, and dominance. His aggression began with fighting those who bullied his female friend and evolved to acting out his anger by hurting animals. At age fifteen, he began to rebel by frequently lying, stealing, avoiding home and staying out all night. He also commenced what would be a life-long pattern of aggression against inanimate objects — throwing, breaking, punching, and kicking things in close vicinity. Also at fifteen, he began sexually acting out at school by grabbing at peer-aged female students’ breasts and genital areas. The education system was of course alarmed by his behaviour and child welfare was brought in to assist and manage this difficult young man. The focus however was predominantly on setting limits and establishing external controls with little attention to addressing ‘why’ he was behaving so badly. “Defending the Mentally Ill” by Mr. William TrudellSeconds later, slashed and bleeding from his neck, the officer un-holstered his gun and fired at the escaping young man. The officer then collapsed. The abandoned hospital parking lot was soon filled with the flashing lights of police cruisers, as chaos shattered the night.  Hiding behind the trees, not far away, shotgun at his side, Troy watched the unfolding of his life and the ending of another. He began to run, through backyards, over sidewalks, his leg pounding in pain, until exhausted, he stopped. That is when he called his mother. His nightmare had begun and I soon became a part of it. 

Read from the Book

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedom—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.—Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946)As Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” These are words my mother shared at the right moment when I was an undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal. These insightful words from Hamlet allowed me to see the world a little differently. The ideas conjured by these words also happen to be fundamental to forensic psychiatry and psychology, a world where mental disorders and the law intersect. A few years ago, a Toronto man ran over a police officer with a snowplow, killing him. The day before the jury began to consider its verdict, Rob Ford, the infamous then-Mayor of Toronto, called in to a local radio show to complain about the ‘not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder’ (NCR) defence. Ford talked about how it hurt to see the guy go scot-free and asserted that if you killed someone and acted mentally disturbed, chances of freedom were pretty much assured. After the man was found NCR, and was to be sent to a forensic psychiatric hospital instead of to prison, the hockey commentator Don Cherry echoed Ford’s thoughts, posting on Twitter that “it seems if you kill someone and act mentally disturbed then you can be let free.” But people with psychotic disorders do not ‘act’ mentally disturbed; they are mentally disturbed. John Kastner, who produced and directed the documentaries of tragic crimes and forgiveness NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (2013), and Out of Mind Out of Sight (2014), put it well by asking, “Do we punish anybody else for an illness? A truck driver has a heart attack and kills ten people. Is he a criminal?” In addition, mentally ill offenders certainly don’t get off ‘scot-free’. In Canada, those found NCR are detained in forensic hospitals —usually for many years, and sometimes more than thirty years—to protect the public and for rehabilitation.Forensic psychiatry and psychology are extraordinary fields. Until recently, our professional work has been largely hidden from the public except for sensationalist and negative portrayals. Beyond the intrigue, those who we assess and treat are often shunned based not only on their admittedly destructive behaviour, but due to bias and stigma. The harm they cause makes the public angry; false stories are dreamed up about offenders’ behaviour because better stories are not available to help explain. Imagination fills in the gaps in understanding. At times, interpretations can be debilitating. The person behind the label of ‘accused’ or ‘mentally disordered offender’ often becomes their disordered behaviour in the eyes of the world—as in Hamlet, the “thinking makes it so.” Curiously, some of our non-forensic colleagues also find what we do mystifying and somehow wrong. We all see what we know, not what we don’t know … yet.In my fifteen years in forensic psychiatry, I’ve seen many sides of the profession: in assessments of risk of violence, in assessments of criminal responsibility, and in treatment and risk management. Working in a maximum secure forensic hospital in Penetanguishene, Ontario, I’ve met people who have lived in the hospital for many years after committing extreme offences: psychopaths driven by a need for dominance and instant gratification; serial murderers driven by narcissistic rage and sexual deviance; grievously ill people who had a delusional need to defend themselves from being killed. Working in a minimum secure forensic hospital with those who are transitioning to the community at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and in conducting forensic assessments in Ontario and beyond, I have witnessed many more stories—the man who murdered his mother because he thought she had been replaced by an alien who was going to kill his entire family and who is later forgiven by all except himself; the sex offender driven by desires and perceived needs; and the self-described ‘unique’ terrorist who really is like no other and is driven by a religious conviction that in his case became delusional. The varieties and motivations for criminal behaviour are vast. The challenges in our privileged world are like no other. Strangely, fears that I had from childhood of the ‘dangerous man’ have softened. Over time, I have become less, rather than more, fearful of ‘the accused’. Understanding lessens the mystery. I am more at ease with what is out there and I know that most people are remarkably good. Their stories have expanded my world. Hearteningly, society is learning to respond with a greater openness and a desire to understand people who suffer from debilitating untreated mental illnesses. Thanks to treatment and compassion, some of these sufferers are making remarkable recoveries. Recent studies have shown that when released after their treatments, mentally disordered offenders are less likely to commit new crimes than inmates released from prison. As The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider notes, crimes in this population are the result of “untreated mental illness rather than deliberate criminality.” Longer incarceration in prison actually results in poorer outcomes for them.The personal and moving stories collected in this book will draw you in and allow you to look through a small window into the vast field of forensic psychiatry and psychology—into the experiences of those who have shared a part of the world in which they are fortunate to work. It will make you feel. It will allow you to see others and possibilities in a new way.Lisa Ramshaw MD DPhil FRCPCFounder, Forensic PsychiatryAssistant Professor, University of TorontoLisa Ramshaw MD DPhil FRCPC is the Forensic Psychiatry Subspecialty Program Director and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She is a staff psychiatrist in the Forensic Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and has been a consultant psychiatrist in Nunavut for more than ten years. Her clinical practice includes assessments of criminal responsibility, fitness to stand trial, risk of violence and sexual violence, and assessments and care of individuals under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board. She is also a member of the Ontario Review Board.

Table of Contents

Part One, Legacy CasesPart Two, Current and ConundrumsPart Three, Insights and Glimpses of the Future

Bookclub Guide

SHRUNKCrime and Disorders of the MindLorene Shyba PhD and J. Thomas Dalby PhD, EditorsForeword by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lisa RamshawSHRUNK: Crime and Disorders of the Mind is a collection of powerful chapters by eminent Canadian and international forensic psychologists and psychiatrists who write about mental health issues they face and what they are doing about it. Unlike any other book within the genre of True Crime, SHRUNK is the first book that delves deeply into the disturbed human psyche to help build a solution to the problem of understanding mental illness within the criminal justice system.We asked our forensics experts to tell stories about cases that still haunt them. Among the stories in the book are: Dr. Joel Watts on Luka Magnotta; Dr. J. Thomas Dalby on serial killer Clifford Olson; Dr. Jeffrey Waldman on Vince Li and the Greyhound Bus tragedy; Dr. Hy Bloom on mass homicide; Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez on automatism; Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider on a typical day in Mental Health Court; Dr. Sven Å. Christenson on a Swedish case of psychopathic personality and media manipulation; Dr. Jack White on the most notorious Australian serial killing of all time; Dr. Louise Olivier on a case of wife battering in South Africa; Dr. Donald Dutton on an American case of mind-control and folie à deux; Dr. Stephen Porter and Tianna Dilley on brain damage and extreme amnesia; Dr. Barry Cooper and Jacqueline Kanipayur on malingering; Dr. Marc Nesca on catathymic murder and necrophilia; Dr. Patrick Baillie on David Milgaard’s wrongful conviction; Dr. Lawrence Ellerby on deviance to rehabilitation; and Dr. David Dawson finds moments of warmth and shared humanity with psychiatric patients. Criminal defence lawyer William Trudell writes about working with forensic experts and their contributions in the defence of those suffering from mental disorders. SHRUNK is scheduled for release on May 5, 2016. Pre-order from Indigo.ca.

Editorial Reviews

The workings of the criminally disordered minds has always been a fascinating subject. Does our prison system throw away the key after incarceration or is it worthwhile to rehabilitate? Earl Levy, QC