via The BrowserThis article was thoroughly engaging from start to finish.  It’s about a convict who faked insanity so that they would put him in the psycho ward instead of prison.  And then he realizes what a huge mistake that was.

Tony said the day he arrived at the dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) unit, he took one look at the place and realised he’d made a spectacularly bad decision. He asked to speak urgently to psychiatrists. “I’m not mentally ill,” he told them. It is an awful lot harder, Tony told me, to convince people you’re sane than it is to convince them you’re crazy.

So he tries to be co-operative in the hospital to prove that he wasn’t really criminally insane.  According to his doctors that was a sure sign he belonged in the hospital.

I glanced suspiciously at Tony. I instinctively didn’t believe him about this. It seemed too catch-22, too darkly-absurd-by-numbers. But later Tony sent me his files and, sure enough, it was right there. “Tony is cheerful and friendly,” one report stated. “His detention in hospital is preventing deterioration of his condition.”

Then he tried the opposite.

After Tony read that, he said, he started a kind of war of non co-operation. This involved staying in his room a lot. On the outside, Tony said, not wanting to spend time with your criminally insane neighbours would be a perfectly understandable position. But on the inside it demonstrates you’re withdrawn and have a grandiose sense of your own importance. In Broadmoor, not wanting to hang out with insane killers is a sign of madness.

Eventually his doctors figured out that he had been faking it.  But of course the willingness to fake criminal insanity in order to go to the psycho ward is all the more reason to stay there.

But then I read Maden’s next line: “Most psychiatrists who have assessed him, and there have been a lot, have considered he is not mentally ill, but suffers from psychopathy.”…

Faking mental illness to get out of a prison sentence, Maden explained, is exactly the kind of deceitful and manipulative act you’d expect of a psychopath.

A psychopath is basically someone who appears perfectly normal on the surface but lacks normal moral restraints that make people socially fit. And just as it is hard to prove that you are not a psychopath it becomes really easy to conclude that everybody else is one.

My mind drifted to what I could do with my new powers. If I’m being honest, it didn’t cross my mind to become some kind of great crime fighter, philanthropically dedicated to making society a safer place. Instead, I made a mental list of all the people who over the years had crossed me and wondered which of them I might be able to expose as having psychopathic character traits.