Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Angela Giannetto and Nunzio Cosentino

The authors analyzed the phenomenon of homicidal violence from a psychoanalytic viewpoint in the biographical reconstruction of an offender hospitalized in a judicial psychiatric hospital. The crime is viewed within the life history of the patient, a life history gathered during criminological-forensic interviews. This study used a hermeneutic qualitative approach to delineate the criminological dynamics within the psychobiography of the offender. For this purpose, the authors gathered information from the patient’s records and from direct interviews with the penitentiary operators. The interesting scientific picture that emerged from the clinical and criminological interviews is different from an offender “history” that is frequently given by institutions, mass media and judicial bodies. In this narrative, there are visible projections of the fears and the anguish that cross contemporary society. The facts narrated by the media often do not reflect the reality that the author of a crime narrates. So-called journalistic information too often becomes only a detailed description of atrocious crimes that erup physical safety and the fear of the unknown. The simple description, even though minute, of a crime and of an offender is not, from a criminological and psychological point of view, sufficient for the understanding of the deep tensions in the offender. Nor is it enough to anticipate an intervention plan congruous with the spirit of present-day Italian penitentiary legislation or to prepare a preventive rehabilitative program in order to avoid recidivism.

Dottore di ricerca presso la Cattedra di Criminologia, Università degli Studi di Messina, Docente a contratto di Psicologia generale, Università degli Studi di Enna “Kore” e docente a contratto di Psicologia sociale, Università degli Studi di Messina
Angela Giannetto
Dottore di ricerca e Cultore in Criminologia, Docente a contratto di Criminologia, Università degli Studi di Messina.
Nunzio Cosentino
Contacts: Nunzio Cosentino, Università degli studi di Messina, tel. 339/4004464, e-mail: nunzio.cosentino(at)

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 3/2009



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