District attorney targets prison psychiatrists in Dugard kidnapping case

August 3, 2011

The Northern California prosecutor who convicted parolee Phillip Garrido of abducting 11-year old Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and holding her has a sex slave for years in his backyard released a 162-page report Tuesday detailing the crime and the many failures of the criminal justice system to prevent it.

El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson directed particularly sharp criticism at the justice system for an “over-reliance upon the psychiatric profession to predict future dangerousness.”

Before abducting Dugard, Garrido was paroled from federal prison where he had been serving a 50-year sentence for kidnapping another woman.

"“For some unknown reason, psychiatry in the criminal justice system relies far too little on past behavior and far too often on the statements from the criminal—who have a vested interest and motive in presenting themselves in a better light. Common sense would tell you that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior," Pierson wrote.

Source: "Jaycee Dugard: Sharp criticisms leveled at prison psychiatrists," Los Angeles Times (blog), August 2, 2011.


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