Autism Spectrum Disorders and Psychopathy: Clinical and Criminal Justice Considerations

Volume 16
Issue 1
Zoltan Boka & Faith H. Leibman
This paper acts as a corrective to Fitzgerald (2011), which conflated autistic disorder with Asperger’s disorder when exploring the small portion of this population that engages in serious criminal activities. Fitzgerald suggested that autistic psychopathy and Asperger’s syndrome are one and the same and implied that individuals on the autism spectrum are likely to exhibit psychopathic behavior and commit antisocial criminal activities. We expand upon and modify Fitzgerald’s work, distinguishing between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and psychopathy. We assert that individuals with ASD do not perform acts with the same malice, intent, and deception as psychopaths. Our ultimate goal in the paper is to provide possible future direction for research in the issue of criminality in individuals diagnosed with ASD. 

Key words: Asperger’s, Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Clinical Treatment, Communication Disorders, Criminal Behavior, Criminal Justice, Comorbidity, Psychopathy