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Understanding Female Offenders - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128233726

Understanding Female Offenders

1st Edition

Psychopathy, Criminal Behavior, Assessment, and Treatment

Authors: Jason Smith Carl Gacono Ted Cunliffe
Paperback ISBN: 9780128233726
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st June 2021
Page Count: 400
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According to the Sentencing Project, between 1980 and 2017, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 750%, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 225,060 in 2017 and the number continues to rise. Dealing with incarcerated women and specifically psychopathic women can be challenging. Understanding Female Offenders: Psychopathy, Criminal Behavior, Assessment, and Treatment provides readers with a better conceptualization of the psychopathic/non-psychopathic female. This includes better ways of interviewing, assessing, and treating these women, and clinical caveats with case examples to assist with clinical applications. This is the only comprehensive resource that provides specific knowledge about female offenders, particularly on female psychopathy and assessment.

Key Features

  • Describes the differences between ASPD and psychopathic women and men
  • Presents PCL-R, Rorschach, and PAI data on female offenders, female psychopaths, and female sex offenders
  • Reviews the current literature on female psychopathy studies
  • Provides in-depth female offender case studies
  • Discusses common biases in diagnosing, treating, and assessing in forensic settings with female offenders


Academics conducting research in this area (Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Human Development), graduate students and/or advanced undergraduates completing specialized coursework, people working in applied settings (e.g., clinicians). Social workers, policy makers

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    2. Understanding Female Offenders
    3. Psychopathic and Antisocial Women
    4. Assessing Female Offenders
    5. Trauma Assessment in Female Offenders
    6. Clinical Biases and Female Offenders
    7. Diagnostic Clarifications for Female Offenders
    8. Management and Treatment of Female Offenders
    9. Female Sex Offenders
    10. Juvenile Females
    11. Epilogue
    12. Developmental and Sex Factors in female offenders/psychopaths
    13. Variable and Person-Centered Approaches with Female Psychopathy
    14. Psychiatric Female Offenders
    15. Representation of Female Psychopathy in American Films
    16. PCL-R Interview Schedule for Women
    17. Additional Case Study
    18. Psychopathy: What’s in a Name Article


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2021
1st June 2021
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Jason Smith

Jason M. Smith, PsyD, ABPP has worked in county jails, forensic private practices, and forensic hospitals. He completed an internship in the Kentucky Department of Corrections focusing on assessing, treating, and researching incarcerated offenders (mainly women). Since 2014, he has worked as a licensed Clinical Psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons , where he has continued treating, assessing, and managing incarcerated women. With his co-authors, he has published on female offenders/psychopathy as well as theoretical Rorschach articles. He is on the Board of Assessors for Rorschachiana. He is a member of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Smith has presented his research and workshops on assessing and treating female offenders in the US and Internationally. Dr. Smith was also awarded the APA Division 18 Criminal Justice Section Outstanding Dissertation Award (2014) and the SPA John E. Exner Scholar Award (2019).

Affiliations and Expertise

Chief Psychologist, Federal Bureau of Prisons

Carl Gacono

Carl B. Gacono, PhD, ABAP was the Assessment Center Director, at Atascadero State Hospital (CA), and Chief Psychologist at the Federal Correctional Institution (Bastrop, TX), having worked over 20 years in correctional and forensic psychiatric facilities. He is the co-author of The Rorschach Assessment of Aggressive & Psychopathic Personalities, senior editor of the Handbook of Forensic Rorschach Assessment, author of The Clinical & Forensic Interview Schedule for The Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Revised & Screening Version, editor of the Clinical & Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner’s Guide (1st & 2nd Editions), and author or co-author of more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters. He received the Samuel J. & Anne G. Beck Award (1984) for excellence in early career research and the Walter G. Klopfer Award (2000). He is a member of the American Board of Assessment Psychology and a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment. As a noted artist, Dr. Gacono exhibits his paintings, and he has had several displayed on book covers. Currently, Dr. Gacono maintains a consulting practice in Asheville, NC where he lives with his son, Jackson Carl Gacono (see and carlgaconoart [Instagram]).

Affiliations and Expertise

Former Assessment Center Director at Atascadero State Hospital (CA), and Chief Psychologist at the Federal Correctional Institution, Bastrop, TX, USA

Ted Cunliffe

Ted B. Cunliffe, PhD is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist licensed to practice in the State of Florida and over the past six years, has been in full-time private practice and provided expert witness services in various jurisdictions and courts within Florida and beyond. He has provided assessment services and worked with forensic populations in a wide variety of settings including juvenile detention centers, adult prisons, juvenile probation, and outreach programs in the community for over 30 years. Specifically, he has served as a Staff Psychologist and Mental Health Director at a wide number of correctional facilities in Florida, California, and Canada. Further, he has provided expert witness services to the Florida, California, and Virginia courts in the areas Competence to Stand Trial, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Dangerousness, Death Penalty, Wrongful Death, Dependency, Mitigation, and Civil Litigation. His clinical and research interests include the forensic use of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, the Rorschach Inkblot Test, trauma related disorders in a forensic context, domestic violence, stalking, criminal decision-making, dangerousness/violence risk assessment, and criminal recidivism.

Affiliations and Expertise

Licensed Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Miami FL


"This book addresses a long standing and serious gap in the literature, including two extremely powerful and attractive assessment tools, together into one volume. The chapters keep their tight focus nicely, and the disciplined situating of the issues into scientific methodology is a positive feature of the text. Staying focused on the boundaries of the approach without digression makes this book very compelling and informative. Overall, the coverage and integration of the literature on psychopathy, the PCL-R, PAI and Rorschach makes the addition of Understanding Female Offenders to one’s library quite worthwhile." --Marvin W. Acklin, PhD, ABPP, ABFP, ABAP, Board-certified Clinical, Assessment & Forensic Psychologist

"Understanding Female Offenders: Psychopathy, Criminal Behavior, Assessment, and Treatment is a masterful and up-to-date review of the literature. Historical review and contextualization of concepts and assessment instruments are extremely helpful and set the stage for the strong analysis that follows. The authors are leaders in the field of psychological assessment, and their extensive knowledge is reflected in the care and detail of the conceptual theories and analysis developed in this book and its foundational research." --Giselle Hass, PsyD, ABAP, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist

"Understanding Female Offenders: Psychopathy, Criminal Behavior, Assessment, and Treatment makes an important contribution to the field. Clinicians who work with female psychopaths will want to consult this text for practical advice about bias and about managing the emotional demands of this work. The case studies offer vivid illustrations that are supported by extensive tables of test data which can readily be applied." --Kari Carstairs, PsyD, ABAP, Clinical psychologist

"Understanding Female Offenders: Psychopathy, Criminal Behavior, Assessment, and Treatment is a landmark book that fills an important gap in the female offender literature and provides clinicians and researcher with a long awaited guide to better understand and deal with these complex, often mispresented and misunderstood women." --Peder Christian Bryhn Nørbech, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Clinic of Prison Psychiatric Services, Oslo University Hospital, Norway

Ratings and Reviews