(Received 6 December 1991; accepted 22 January 1992)
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The author reviewed the literature concerning criminals' explanations of their crimes and then studied the explanations given by 100 incarcerated men. He found no significant associations between juvenile or adult arrest histories, alias use, age at time of the crime, trial plea, sentence length, duration of incarceration, and explanation types used. Only murderers significantly used a specific explanation type. These observations suggest that explanations are largely independent of traditional criminological attributes; that prolonged confinement to prison does not result in offenders admitting to their crimes; and, that killers have an especially difficult time accepting responsibility for taking the life of another human being.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Missouri—Columbia Health Sciences Center, Columbia, MO
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