Evil Minds

Evil Minds : Understanding and Responding to Violent Predators

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For courses in deviance, violence and victimology.

This unique, engaging text uses a multi-disciplinary approach in an effort to understand the "evil minds" of criminals that engage in predatory violence. Evil Minds uses the study of the "monsters" among us-serial killers, mass murderers, child molesters and rapists-to introduce students to the theories, concepts and research from the fields of psychology, sociology, criminology & criminal justice that social scientists employ to understand and respond to violent criminals.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 172.7 x 231.1 x 15.2mm | 453.6g
  • Pearson
  • Upper Saddle River, NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0130486132
  • 9780130486134

Back cover copy

Violent predators are motivated by many fantasies and illnesses, and there are no limits to their sadistic pursuits to satisfy their evil desires. "Evil Minds: Understanding and Responding to Violent Predators" is a unique and comprehensive approach to the subject of sex offenders, serial murderers, mass murderers, and spree killers. Not only are theories and causation factors explored, but also the investigative and the forensic approaches in the treatment and punishment of these predators are discussed and evaluated. In "Evil Minds: Understanding and Responding to Violent Predators, " eleven chapters are devoted to the theories, motives, criminal justice responses, victim characteristics, treatment approaches, and the forensics employed in analyzing and identifying violent predators. The reader is educated on the various types of offender behavior including motives, opportunity, and methods of criminality. Rapists, pedophiles, and murderers are compared and discussed from both a psychological, social, and investigative framework. There is also attention devoted to female violent predators, comparing their violent behaviors and motives to men. The application of the justice system is examined as it pertains to processing violent predators, including the determination of insanity. Real life case studies show the psychological and social dynamics creating evil minds, as well as depicting how these predators are hunted and apprehended. The reader is further acquainted with the scientific methods used by social scientists to study crime and violence. The basic elements of research such as hypothesis, sampling, validity, and variable identification are explained. Research design methods are discussed, including the strengths and weaknesses of each. "Evil Minds: Understanding and Responding to Violent Predators" is a much needed work because unlike other books on forensics, criminal psychology, or violence, it provides the reader with theoretical, legal, and applied information. Written by a psychologist and criminal justice professor who both have applied experiences, the chapters and learning exercises offer a blend of psychology, criminal justice, criminology, and practical forensics. Justice practitioners, forensic experts, and the average citizen should find this book relevant and insightful.
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Table of contents


This section focuses on the following categories of repeat violent offenders. Included is a discussion of particular traits and patterns of these offenders, victimology, and actual case studies.

1. Monsters and their Victims: The Dance.

*The victim and the offender-the relationship between victims and violent criminals (victimology).

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Measuring Crime and Victimization. Victimization Theory. Conclusion.

2. The Sexual Predator.

*Sex offender types (rapist, molesters, etc.)

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Serial Rapists. Pedophiles and Child Molesters. Women Child Molesters. Responding to Sexual Predators. Conclusion.

3. Murdering Minds.

*Murderer types (serial killers, spree and mass killers, killers for profit, terrorists, etc.)

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Mass Murderers. Spree Killers. Male Serial Killer. Female Serial Killer. Conclusion.


This section reviews theory and research on the sources of violent and sexual offending, examining biological, psychological and sociological contributors.

4. How to Create a Monster According to Psychological Theories of Development.

*Psychological theories of personality development related to violence, personality disorders and psychopathy: psychodynamic, social learning/cognitive, trait theory.

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Psychodynamic Theory. Learning and Cognitive Theory. Trait/Dispositional Theory. So Which Theory is Right? Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Words. References.

5. How do Social Scientists Find Answers?

*Scientific method

*Research designs, strengths and weaknesses

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Basic Elements of Research. Research Methods/Strategies. Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Words. References.

6. Toxic Families and Culture.

*Sociological theories

*Research on family and early childhood influences

*Research on the media, community, and their contributions to violence

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Gender, Race, and Violence. Learning Violence. Familial Influences. Peer Influences. Media Influences. Environmental Conditions and Violence. Conclusions. Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Terms. References.

7. Neurological Contributions to Evil Minds.

*Contribution of prenatal factors

*Biological factors (brain chemistry, function, and structure)

Learning Objectives. Introduction. The Search for Genetic Roots of Violence. The Brain Behavior Connection. Neurological Correlates of Aggression. Neurochemistry and Hormones. Conclusion: Pulling it all Together. Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Words. References.

8. Twisted Minds: The Contribution of Mental Disorders.

*Overview of relevant mental disorders

Learning Objectives. Introduction. The Personality Disorders. Disorders of Childhood. Major Mental Disorders. Paraphilias. Some Final Thoughts. Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Words. References.


This section provides an overview of the criminal justice system and the effects of treatment and imprisonment.

9. Forensic Investigation: The Hunt.

*The role of the forensic expert

*Crime scene investigation

*Crime mapping

*Type of Evidence


Learning Objectives. Introduction. The Criminal Investigation. Forensic Specialties. Pathology and the Autopsy. The Physical Sciences. Conclusion. Questions for Discussion and Activities. Key Terms. References.

10. The Pursuit of Justice.

*How the justice system operates

*Elements of major violent crimes (rape, degrees of murder, etc.)

*Determining responsibility: criminal defenses and excuses

Learning Objectives. The Law. Crime: What Constitutes a Crime? Trial. Defenses to Crime. The Insanity Defense. Sentencing and Punishment. Conclusion. Questions. Key Terms. References.

11. To Treat or not to Treat, that is the Question.

*Measuring outcomes of treatment and imprisonment

*Therapy and treatment models for sex offenders

Learning Objectives. Introduction. Treatment Effectiveness. Current Treatments. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Relapse Prevention. Cognitive Restructuring. Building Coping Skills. Behavioral Reconditioning. Relapse Prevention. Hormonal/Medical Treatment. Conclusions. Discussion Questions and Activities. Key Words. References.
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About Robert J. Meadows

Dr. Julie M. Kuehnel earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology at the University of Texas and is a licensed clinical psychologist in California. She is currently Professor/Chair of Psychology at California Lutheran University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. She came to CLU with experience as an Assistant Research Psychologist at UCLA specializing in behavior therapy; as a private practice clinician; and as a trainer/consultant to Camarillo State Hospital, Atascadero State Hospital, and the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring. Dr. Kuehnel coauthored the Handbook of Marital Therapy and articles and book chapters on the treatment of mental disorders.

Dr. Robert J. Meadows is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and is Director of the Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration at California Lutheran University. Dr. Meadow's research and teaching interests include legal issues in criminal justice, private security, violence and victimization, and delinquency. He authored a book on Saudi Arabian justice and a parent's guide for coping with difficult teenagers. He also authored Understanding Violence and Victimization for Prentice Hall Publishing, now in its third edition. Dr. Meadows is a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Industrial Security.
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