Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Alan Leschied

Abstract

Little is known about how and when the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R) is being introduced into Canadian Courts or how it affects sentencing outcomes. Using the Lexis-Nexis Quicklaw Academic Database to retrieve judge’s sentencing decisions, all 274 cases with PCL-R information for Canadian courts were included in this study. It was hypothesized correctly that PCL-R information would most often be introduced in Long Term Offender (LTO) and Dangerous Offender (DO) applications as well as sentencing cases for murderers and sex offenders. The 274 cases were then reduced to 37 cases in order to focus on sentencing without Dangerous Offender or Long Term Offender applications. It was hypothesized that a higher PCL-R score and detailed expert testimony on psychopathy would lead to a longer sentence. It was found, when the offender’s offence was controlled for, a high risk to reoffend or a high PCL-R score significantly affected sentence length however the quality or quantity of expert testimony about psychopathy did not.