Moral Judgment among Incarcerated Offenders from a Psychotherapeutic Background

Yuval Wolf, Miriam Friedlander, Moshe Addad, Peter Silfen, Joel Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The present work is a preliminary attempt to examine whether the theory of information integration is applicable as aframework for the study of moral judgment by incarcerated offenders who underwent formal psychotherapy in prison (psychotherapeutic background). The hypothesis, derived from the theory, was that judgment would be based on more than a single source of information. This hypothesis was tested against an alternative, unidimensional prediction derived from the theory of object relations. Nineteen subjects, 14 of them hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of an Israeli prison, participated in a study based on a single subject experimental design, where every subject participated in all experimental conditions. Seven of them were diagnosed as borderline and seven as anti-social. Each subject responded to an experimental questionnaire which included hypothetical episodes about property crimes committed by two offenders. The subject was instructed to identify with one of the offenders. Three pieces of information were included in each episode: the intent of each of the two offenders and the size of the job.' All episodes derived from a complete factorial design were presented to each subject. In one replication the subject assigned blame to the offender with whom he identified, and in the other he assigned blame to the accomplice. Meaningful differences were found between the groups of prisoners, as reflected in the importance assigned to the three sources of information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-257
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995


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