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Prison brain? Executive dysfunction in prisoners

By Jesse eMeijers, Joke M Harte, Joke M Harte, Frank A Jonker and Gerben eMeynen and Gerben eMeynen


A better understanding of the functioning of the brain, particularly executive functions, of the prison population could aid in reducing crime rates through the reduction of recidivism rates. Indeed, reoffending appears to be related to executive dysfunction and it is known that executive functions are crucial for self-regulation. In the current paper, studies to executive functions in regular prisoners compared to non-offender controls were reviewed. Seven studies were found. Specific executive functions were found to be impaired in the general prison population, i.e. attention and set-shifting, as well as in separate subgroups of violent (i.e. set-shifting and working memory) and non-violent offenders (i.e. inhibition, working memory and problem solving). We conclude that the limited number of studies is remarkable, considering the high impact of this population on society and elaborate on the implications of these specific impairments that were found. The current findings call for further research

Topics: executive functions, Prison, mini-review, recidivism, offenders, impoverished environment, Psychology, BF1-990
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00043
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