In our quest to make sense of criminal behaviour, we often attach ‘labels’ to criminals and attempt to explain their behaviour through describing them as possessing a certain character trait(s). For example, a psychopath is identified as someone who has little regard for moral codes, is often manipulative and appears to have little conscience or show much remorse for their crimes (Hare 1980). Labels or classifications such as these have been developed by psychologists and criminologists to help us understand the different types of personality category that people fit into. Not

all of these are necessarily criminal – many successful politicians and businessmen are thought to exhibit psychopathic tendencies, for example – but it is assumed that many criminals possess similar personality characteristics. Clearly there are some important factors to criminality that can be explained by situational and social factors, but there is also the psychological element to criminal activity that can be relatively unique to that individual. One possible explanation for our interest in uncovering the psychological traits of offenders is that it can provide a quantifiable difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and to some extent further defines law-breakers as being almost another ‘type’ of person.