Jay Richards, PhD is a forensic psychologist whose specialty is the evaluation and treatment of violent offenders, such as homicide perpetrators, mentally ill killers, and sexually violent predators. In the field of criminal psychology, he is known for ground-breaking research, innovative and provocative theoretical papers, and evocative and insightful case studies of psychopaths and other mentally disordered offenders.
Dr. Richards’ early clinical experience was gained during National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) pre and post doctoral fellowships in clinical psychology at the federal psychiatric hospital in Washington DC that was then responsible for mentally ill persons determined to be dangerous to the president, or other persons protected by the Secret Service. A decade later, he was retained as an expert by the US Marshals to review adequacy of treatment received by White House cases and the degree of continuing risk for violence that would be posed, if they were released from confinement.
A career in executive administration of forensic programs has provided the author with a series of unique vantage points for close observation and reflection on mentally ill offenders. For a decade, Dr. Richards was the director for Behavioral Sciences at the Patuxent Institution in Maryland, a treatment program for offenders with mental abnormalities or emotional imbalances. For four years, Dr. Richards was the director of Special Commitment Center, a facility for Sexually Violent Predators located on McNeil Island, Washington, once the site of the federal prison that predated Alcatraz as America’s first island prison. Dr. Richards is affiliated with the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University where he teaches courses on topics such as the nature and implications of severe psychopathy and understanding and managing dangerous offenders. As part of his affiliation with the University of Washington, he chairs a panel of professionals charged with reviewing the risk posed to public safety by the possible release of patients held involuntarily in psychiatric hospitals because of their history of criminal offenses and active mental illness.
Among the multiple perspectives and concepts the author uses to understand criminal cases (and to formulate fictional characters), those related to personality and unconscious motivation play the most decisive roles in the novel’s depiction of the unfolding of criminal conduct and of the novel’s story lines. The novel also reflects the author’s decade of immersion in Integral Philosophy and the works of philosopher and anthropologist Ernest Becker, author of The Denial of Death. The novel Silhouette of Virtue is based, in part, on actual crimes that occurred on a university campus during the mid-1970s, and is also informed by experiences gained by the author while studying and teaching African literature in West Africa later in that decade.