Be­yond Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ?

In the early 1990s Mackay took part in an ex­per­i­men­tal new regime at HMP Hull, which aimed to re­ha­bil­i­tate Bri­tain’s most in­tractable crim­i­nals

Real Crime - - Son Of The Devil -

Hull’s spe­cial unit, where the glob­ally ac­cepted pun­ish­ment ethos of pris­ons was swapped for a ther­a­peu­tic com­mu­nity model, took pris­on­ers from pun­ish­ment blocks all over the coun­try. Mackay was trans­ferred there from the seg­re­ga­tion block at Parkhurst. A BBC doc­u­men­tary about the project in­cludes footage of Mackay be­ing in­ducted into the unit. But is some­body like him ca­pa­ble of re­form?

Psy­chopaths are notable for their glib charm and ma­nip­u­la­tive na­ture. They are adept at say­ing what­ever the lis­tener wants to hear in or­der to get their own way. Chillingly, the BBC doc­u­men­tary ap­pears to show ev­i­dence of this, when Mackay says that he can’t be a psy­chopath as psy­chopaths en­joy killing and he took no plea­sure in any of his mur­ders. This was mu­sic to his coun­sel­lor’s ears, no doubt, but his words con­tra­dicted the state­ments he made in 1975, when he not only claimed that “I have al­ways be­lieved that I have… psy­cho­pathic ma­nia”, but also an­nounced, “Any­body do­ing a killing en­joys it at the time. I cer­tainly did.”

Lit­tle is known about the ef­fec­tive­ness of Hull’s pro­gramme – the unit closed in 1999. What is cer­tain is that there is cur­rently no ef­fec­tive treat­ment for psy­chopa­thy, and Mackay re­mains safely be­hind bars.

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