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May 16th, 2013
10:24 PM ET

Former FBI man John Douglas on violent childhoods impacting adult behavior: "What always is a debate, is it nature or nurture"

As more information on the Ohio kidnapping investigation comes to light – in particular facts related to a history of violence and abuse directed at Ariel Castro's family – on Thursday "Piers Morgan Live" invited John Douglas to offer his professional perspective.

The former chief of the FBI's Behavioral Science unit, Douglas discussed the role such an upbringing might play in the adult future of those raised within an abusive environment:

"What always is a debate, is it a nature or nurture thing?" he noted. "I can say from the people who I have interviewed, on death row or in prisons around the country, most of them will have some type of violence, psychological, physical violence, sexual violence in the background."

The man who served as the inspiration for the character of Jack Crawford in the well-known "Silence of the Lamb" film, Douglas was careful to avoid holding one's childhood entirely responsible for later behavior:

"However, I'm kind of tough on this because I still don't believe it should be a mitigating factor," he told Piers Morgan. "They still have the ability to make choices and [use] free will and they're making these choices and it's the wrong choices."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as the guest and host further discuss how a history of violence and abuse in a family impacts the children who grow up under such circumstances.
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (98 Responses)
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    In my opinion, a damaged soul does not have free will. Just a skewed version of life. I am supposed to say that they can always make choices – that is the popular prospective but I don't join the masses in their thinking or more accurately, non-thinking.

    May 17, 2013 at 12:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
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      They just plough their own furrow of crime,Norma,and you sound rather misanthropic though.

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      May 17, 2013 at 5:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
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    A violent home definitelƴ lmpacts negetivelƴ on a person's life and future behavor therefore, families should be careful and avoid violence . This will help nurture positive behavor families and the sociaty.

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