Is Marc Dutroux still dangerous after 22 years of imprisonment? That is the question asked by Bruno Dayez, the lawyer of Marc Dutroux.
Dayez has asked the sentencing court to put together a panel of experts to assess how dangerous his client is. In this way, Dayez hopes that the country’s most notorious criminal will have a chance of conditional release according to newspaper ‘La Capitale’ today.
Canadian researchers have developed various scientific methods, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide and the SORAG (Sex Offender Appraisal Guide) scale, which offer psychologists the opportunity to calculate the risk of recidivism among criminals. “Researchers followed 700 individuals in a highly secure hospital. Some of them committed offenses, others did not. The study linked various variables to recidivism factors,” says Professor Pham, head of the Psychology Faculty at the University of Bergen.
“The variables that are taken into account are historically determined. It concerns the past of the individual. For example: antisocial behaviour that was noticed during primary education, the history of alcohol use or drugs, the marital status, the criminal history, the age of the perpetrator during the commission of the facts, a personality disorder…”
In addition to the VRAG scale and the SORAG scale, the PCL-R scale is also taken into account, a test that determines the level of psychopathy.
“I want to warn that this should be handled carefully”, continues Professor Pham. “These scales are just a compass: they send you in a certain direction, but do not show you the exact address like a GPS.”
In addition to the results of the above tests, the individual undergoes a psychiatric and a clinical examination. “The expert must always meet the individual personally,” adds psychologist and forensic expert Donatien Macquet. “During this meeting, the non-verbal aspect will be very important. Does the individual become manipulative, empathetic and/or dominant during the research?”
On the basis of the end result, a judge can determine whether a criminal is eligible for a conditional release.
Psychiatrist Walter Denys examined Marc Dutroux in 1996 during his arrest. He saw Dutroux in the Neufchâteau courthouse and then two or three times in prison. During the trial in Arlon, he described him as “the perfect psychopath.” If Dutroux is the “perfect psychopath”, then the tests will show that he has a chance of recidivism, writes “La Capitale.”
“I have researched more than 6,000 people during my 40-year career”, he tells the French-speaking newspaper. “I have met few psychopaths, but Dutroux is pure. He does not really notice”, it sounds. According to Denys, there is no scientific answer to the question of whether Dutroux is no longer dangerous after 22 years of imprisonment. “The Canadians who developed the risk scales have a lot of creativity. But… something like that does not work every time. Psychiatrists are not prophets. I often give the same answer when people ask me if a criminal is still dangerous. In all likelihood, such a person is currently not dangerous, but we cannot determine whether that will still be the case within three weeks. That is impossible.”
According to Denys, “psychopathy is not a disease that you can treat with a yellow or a red pill. It is an anomaly of the personality that is not curable. Psychopaths are like motorcyclists: some are dangerous, others are not,” the psychiatrist concludes.