Dr. Sohom Das (@dr_s_das) is a consultant forensic psychiatrist who works in prisons and criminal courts to assess and rehabilitate mentally ill offenders. He is the author of In Two Minds: Stories of Murder, Justice, and Recovery From a Forensic Psychiatrist.
What We Discuss with Dr. Sohom Das:
- Telling the difference between someone whose treatable madness is causing them to act out and someone whose irredeemable, criminal badness makes them a permanent danger to society.
- Over 97% of the mentally ill defendants with whom Sohom works experienced trauma in childhood.
- Comparing and contrasting psychopaths and sociopaths.
- How can a psychiatrist determine whether someone in custody is mentally ill or just faking it (and has Sohom ever been fooled)?
- What precautions does Sohom take for his own safety when working in close quarters with mad or bad people who mean him harm?
- And much more…
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When a violent crime is committed, the justice system needs to determine if the perpetrator of that crime is a permanent danger to society who should be locked away for life, or if they’re mentally ill to a degree that proper treatment would allow them to re-enter that society. In other words, are they bad, or are they mad?
On this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Sohom Das, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who works in prisons and criminal courts to assess and rehabilitate mentally ill offenders, and the author of In Two Minds: Stories of Murder, Justice, and Recovery From a Forensic Psychiatrist. Here, we discuss how he tells the difference between these types of offenders (and if he’s ever been fooled), the most (and least) common illnesses Sohom has encountered among offenders, how to tell when someone is faking mental illness for the sake of their defense, precautions Sohom takes when working in close proximity to killers, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with James Fallon — the psychiatry professor who can teach you how to spot a psychopath because he is a psychopath? Catch up here with episode 28: James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath!
Thanks, Dr. Sohom Das!
If you enjoyed this session with Dr. Sohom Das, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Dr. Sohom Das at Twitter!
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And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- In Two Minds: Stories of Murder, Justice, and Recovery From a Forensic Psychiatrist by Dr. Sohom Das | Amazon
- A Psych For Sore Minds | YouTube
- Dr. Sohom Das | Website
- Dr. Sohom Das | TikTok
- Dr. Sohom Das | Twitter
- Dr. Sohom Das | Facebook
- Dr. Sohom Das | Instagram
- Goldwater Rule | The First Amendment Encyclopedia
- The Never-Ending Loop: Homelessness, Psychiatric Disorder, and Mortality | Psychiatric Times
- The Matrix | Prime Video
- Hearing Voices and Mental Illness | Rethink
- Uncovering Command Hallucinations | Suicide Assessment
- The Disturbing History of Chinese Water Torture and How It Worked | ATI
- Vincent Gigante | Wikipedia
- Do People Fake Mental Illnesses? Part 1 | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Are Psychiatric Wards Dangerous? | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Assessing Aggressive and Violent Prisoners | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Restraining Psychiatric Patients | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Psychopathic, Sociopathic, or Antisocial Personality? | Psychology Today
- Sally Clark, Mother Wrongly Convicted of Killing Her Sons, Found Dead at Home | The Guardian
- Yasmin: Psychosis Driven Killing of an Infant | A Psych for Sore Minds
- History of The Old Bailey Courthouse | Old Bailey Online
- The Story About a Man Removing His Own Eyeballs | A Psych For Sore Minds
- Saw | Prime Video
- Psychiatrist Reacts to Viral Catatonic Schizophrenia Video | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Sabina and Ursula Eriksson: Swedish Twins Shared Psychosis | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Criminal Psychiatrist Explores Incels | A Psych for Sore Minds
- Why Did Trolls Push 14-Year-Old Girl to Commit Suicide? | A Psych for Sore Minds
- The Online Disinhibition Effect | Psychology of Cyberspace
- Autism and the Case of Jonty Bravery at Tate Modern | A Psych for Sore Minds
- What Does It Mean to Be Camp? | BBC Culture
755: Dr. Sohom Das | Rehabilitating the Criminally Insane
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. This year Peloton is gifting you their best offer of the season. Get up to $300 off accessories when you purchase a Peloton Bike. Bike+, or Tread Shop from a variety of accessories such as cycling shoes, a heart rate monitor, and more. If you've been waiting for a sign to join Peloton, this offer provides you with everything you need to get started. You're more likely to stick to a fitness routine if it's something you enjoy, which is why Peloton instructors make every workout feel like hanging out with friends. And the music — iconic, whether it's a classic rock or R & B class, you'll find the perfect soundtrack for your workout on a Peloton Bike or Tread. And whether you have 10 minutes to spare for a strength class or 30 minutes for a running or cycling class, there's a workout for you. So don't miss out on Peloton's best offer of the season. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more. All-access membership is separate. Offer starts November 14th and ends November 28th, cannot be combined with other offers. See additional terms at onepeloton.com.
[00:00:52] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:55] Dr. Sohom Das: So forensic psychiatrists work in a few different environments. Right now, I do most of my work in courts, so I act as an expert witness. So to be specific, when I look at a defendant who's committed, usually some fairly horrific violence, anything you said yourself from stabbing, attempted murder, murder. And my job is to decipher — do they have a mental illness? Yes or no? If so, did they have symptoms at the time of the offense? Yes or no? If they did, did their symptoms affect their criminal culpability? That's the most important question that I need to answer. And if so, do they need to be, go to a prison or a psychiatric hospital?
[00:01:31] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We've got in-depth conversations with scientists and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional Russian spy, arms dealer, extreme athlete, or a cold case homicide investigator. And each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:01:58] If you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show — and I love it when you do that — I suggest our episode starter packs as a place to begin. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic. They'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on this show — topics like abnormal psychology, negotiation and communication, technology and futurism, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:02:24] Today, a look inside the minds of criminals, especially violent savage criminals. Our guest today, Dr. Sohom Das, a new friend of mine, just a fascinating character. His job is to assess criminals and see if they're bad people who cannot be rehabilitated or can be rehabilitated but need punishment, or if the perpetrator is mentally ill and needs to be treated instead. In other words, are they bad or are they mad? We'll learn how these evaluations are done and hear some incredible stories. Some of which are pretty horrifying, honestly, from a life in this.
[00:02:57] I also have some questions about whether or not it's possible to fake mental illness. You know, we often hear like, "Oh, they're pleading insanity. It's all fake." We'll also hear how mental illness changes the way people think and experience the world and a whole lot more. A really interesting discussion with Sohom here. If you're a true crime fan, you're going to love this. If you're into psychology, you're going to love this. If you're into criminal justice, you're going to love this. I just think it's a really, really interesting conversation. Probably goes without saying though, no kids in the car for this one, folks.
[00:03:24] All right, here we go with Dr. Sohom Das.
[00:03:31] Thanks for coming on the show, man. Your book was really interesting and your YouTube channel is super interesting and I'm really, I'm looking forward to this conversation.
[00:03:38] Dr. Sohom Das: Absolutely. Me too. Thanks for having me on Mr. Harbinger. It's a pleasure.
[00:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: You got it, man. Look on your YouTube channel and some of your videos you discussed the psychology behind, I would say most major types of offending, including murder, stalking, arson, Internet trolling, domestic violence, grooming, so like sexual abuse type grooming, knife crime, which is a major thing in the UK I guess, gangs, really, really interesting stuff. A lot of times in the United States especially, we're such a litigious culture, you can't get a doctor to just be like, by the way, here's what I think about all these folks because they will get sued into oblivion, and maybe lose their license for being, quote-unquote, "irresponsible," but you don't seem to care about that. That's not an issue for you, which is cool.
[00:04:19] Dr. Sohom Das: I don't think I'm big enough to care. I don't think I've garnered enough attention, but no, I mean, the way I see it is it's educating people, right?
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:26] Dr. Sohom Das: Like I never claim to be able to specifically diagnose an individual because I've never met them. But I can talk about just using the clinical experience of many, many other individuals very similar to them. I can make quite easy judgment calls on people's personality traits, sometimes on the actual psychiatric diagnosis as well.
[00:04:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think that's sort of frowned upon in the United States specifically because, but one, if you do it to a politician or a public figure, we have this thing called the Goldwater Rule, where you're not supposed to really do that for purposes of, I don't know if it's frowned upon or straight up like unethical according to medical ethics. But we don't have a lot of that, and that's one of the reasons I like your channel.
[00:05:02] So basically, it seems like you work in a prison-like hospital. Is that accurate?
[00:05:07] Dr. Sohom Das: So forensic psychiatrists work in a few different environments. Right now, I do most of my work in courts, so I act as an expert witness. So to be specific, when I look at a defendant who's committed, usually some fairly horrific violence, anything you said yourself from stabbing, attempted murder, murder. And my job is to decipher — do they have a mental illness? Yes or no? If so, did they have symptoms at the time of the offense? Yes or no? If they did, did their symptoms affect their criminal culpability? That's the most important question that I need to answer. And if so, do they need to go to a prison or a psychiatric hospital? So that's why I work now in courts. But in previous iterations as a forensic psychiatrist, I've worked in a female prison for a couple of years and I've worked on lots of secure units for several years as well.
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: You're actually face to face with some seriously dangerous people. Some of the time, at least in the book, there's a lot of poor souls who are what seems like slaves to poorly understood mental illnesses. But also there are some outright dangerous people that you are in a little room with face to face. And I'm thinking, you know, you can't show them that you're afraid and you got to put all that aside. But it would be kind of tricky sometimes to deal with those.
[00:06:14] Dr. Sohom Das: To massively oversimplify it, I would say that there's a spectrum, right? And on one end of the spectrum, you would have mad. So when I say mad, I mean something like a psychotic illness, right? So you have people that are hearing voices, telling them to hurt people, or people that have like paranoid delusions. So they might attack somebody because they have a delusional belief that that person's a pedophile or that person wants to attack, hurt them, or kill them. So that's one end of the spectrum.
[00:06:38] The other end of the spectrum, which would be bad, would be a personality disorder. Psychopathy would be a really well-known one. Antisocial personality disorder, so those are people who are impulsive, aggressive. They don't care about the rights and wrongs of other people. You know, these are nasty career criminals that just have a complete lack of empathy and remorse.
[00:06:57] So yeah, it's a spectrum. Obviously, there's, you know, how spectrums work. There's people that have a little bit of both. I feel less comfortable around antisocial people than I will around people who are just purely psychotic.
[00:07:08] Jordan Harbinger: This makes sense, and we'll probably dive more into that in a bit. I've been thinking recently about the homelessness issue here in the United States. I see these guys around here and there, and my wife will always say, "Oh, they used to be somebody's sweet little baby," and I assume that some of these people were abused and ended up this way, either through addiction, mental illness, or both. How can trauma and childhood lead to mental illness? Is that a thing?
[00:07:31] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say that almost all of my patients, 98, 99 percent of my defendants that I assessed—
[00:07:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:38] Dr. Sohom Das: —have some kind of trauma or abuse in their childhood. You said it yourself, physical, sexual abuse. Sometimes they have very irresponsible lax, neglectful parents. Drug abuse is a huge, huge risk factor. Homelessness, witnessing violence, gang violence, like it's very rare for them not to have one of those things. And these factors often cause criminality, but they also cause mental illness. So that's why they're so common.
[00:08:01] Jordan Harbinger: I notice that a lot of mentally ill people, they have poor health, they have lower life expectancy. Some of that's got to be coming from a toxic family in the first place. But is the rest of it addiction and homelessness or is there other things going on with mental illness that cause you to live a shorter, unhealthy life?
[00:08:19] Dr. Sohom Das: So there's quite a lot of sort of different factors that come into play and it's different for different people. If you've got a severe mental illness, if you're lucky enough to have a good family support structure, so you know relatives that care about you, that will take you to a doctor that will make sure that you take your prescribed medications, then your outcome generally is going to be a bit more positive.
[00:08:38] A lot of my patients come from broken homes. You know, a lot of them are adopted or are brought up in the care system. Well, they simply have families that don't look out for them, and those are the people that drift into homelessness. The mental illness itself can massively damage their physical health. The really poor lifestyle, so from alcohol, drug abuse to smoking can massively decrease their life expectancy.
[00:09:00] And also something that we cannot ignore, that I'm responsible for in a way, is medication. So taking antipsychotic medications, if you've got something like schizophrenia has massive physical implications on your health, you know, with like heart arrhythmias for example, or increasing your lipid profile or increasing your blood pressure, et cetera, et cetera, your risk of having a heart attack is massively increased.
[00:09:21] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah, that's really said that there's side effects from things that these people can't even help that are going to kill them. I mean, that's just to adding injury to more injury at that point. I won't even say insult to injury. They're already suffering and then they have to take a medication to stop that suffering and it's like, yeah, but it's going to take a decade off your life. I mean, it's just, that's, there's a lot of sad.
[00:09:40] I know you've said in the past that behind every bad is usually a lot of sad, and I assume this is kind of what you're talking about.
[00:09:46] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. There are exceptions. I very occasionally see somebody who just purely has a psychotic illness and has no problems in their background or upbringing. One of the cases that I talked about in my book early on, a young girl called Yasmin who ended up killing her two-year-old nephew, would be an example of that. But that's exceptionally rare. Almost always there's some kind of trauma in that if you unpick it enough.
[00:10:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, I definitely want to talk about Yasmin because that's a terrifying tale, simply because it came out of absolutely nowhere so, or at least it seemed that way from the story. I'm sure there's more to it. I know you run an assessment, I assume you run some sort of assessment in the beginning when you're talking with somebody. What do you do if somebody won't give you anything when you're trying to assess them? Like you're asking them assessment questions and they just start singing Mo Money Mo Problems. I mean, obviously, first, you do Notorious B.I.G.'s part at the end and crush the duet, but then what do you do?
[00:10:37] Dr. Sohom Das: So after the music starts, after the rapping is over, to be honest, that's not that uncommon. So if somebody's truly psychotic, especially if they have something like paranoid schizophrenia, when I assess them, especially the first time, they don't know me from Jack, right?
[00:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:10:50] Dr. Sohom Das: A lot of them have paranoid delusions. I'll be specific, really common delusions in the patients that I see would be that they're being followed by strangers, followed by the FBI. Quite a few people, they seem to be connected to the film, the Matrix. So they believe that there's this big kind of conspiracy in the world is not real. So they're just very paranoid. You know, they think they're being poisoned, they think they're being watched. So when they come and sit with me, it's really hard to elicit their symptoms.
[00:11:14] So to answer your question, the answer to that, well, there's two solutions. The easiest and the quickest way is to look at all the other evidence. So when I assess an individual, say somebody's been charged with murder, I don't just take what they say at face value because they could be faking it. There's a whole other topic. I look at all the psychiatric notes. I speak to their psychiatrist. Also, generally speaking, with psychotic illnesses, your level of functioning decreases over months leading up to the psychosis.
[00:11:40] So if somebody tells me that they're hearing voices, but they've been going to work every single day, they're going down to the pub with their friends, they're managing a normal home, family life, they're socializing, then I'm going to be suspicious. So I'm looking at all of the evidence. I also see what their mental state is like from objective evidence from other people. So if they're remanded in prison, I will speak to the prison officers. And if that person says they're paranoid or is acting paranoid in front of me, but the prison officers say that they're laughing and joking with their other prisoner inmates on the wings, then I'm suspicious.
[00:12:12] And the other telltale sign is that if somebody's really, really unwell, they don't have an agenda. They're not trying to convince. They're not trying to say that they need to be in hospital because in their minds those delusions are real. So they don't think they need to be in hospital, they don't think they need antipsychotic medication. Whereas those who are trying to put it on a little bit or try and exaggerate or fabricate, they have an agenda. They tell me straight away that they're hearing voices or that they're paranoid.
[00:12:35] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense, right? Because paranoid people are not going to go, "Hey man, I'm really paranoid." They're going to be like, "I'm not telling you anything, man, because I'm paranoid. I'm not telling you why I'm not going to tell you anything." The point of paranoia is you don't want to tell anybody anything about why, what's going on.
[00:12:49] Dr. Sohom Das: And just to add to that, if part of their paranoia is this massive conspiracy system, and it often is about the government, about the police, they're almost certainly going to assume that I'm part of it, right? Because they've never met me before. I'm just some guy that comes in and tells them that I'm about to assess their mental state.
[00:13:03] But I would say that there are sections of the Mental Health Act in the UK, and I believe there's the equivalent in the states where you can section somebody temporarily whilst they're still in the middle of their trial. What I'm saying is you can watch them in hospital and when you have nurses observing in 24 hours a day, even though they might not tell me their inner feelings, you can tell by the way they interact on the ward with other people.
[00:13:23] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense that you would get, I guess, you'd say background info from prison officers, other people that know them, and you'd be able to make an assessment there. It's probably a little bit hard. I don't know if there's a hard and fast rule here.
[00:13:34] What about the voices that people say are in their heads? If you say, what are the voices saying? Are there ways where you're like, "Oh, that? He's making that up," and other voices, you're like, "Nope. That's what voices in people's heads that they're actually hearing sounds." Because I think if you said, "Jordan, what do the voices in your head say?" I'd probably tell, and if I'm being honest, I would tell you some very normal voices in my head like, "Oh, hey, you're hungry. You should probably eat. Nah, don't eat that. You know better than to eat that again. That's bad for you." That's what sane may be. Sane voices say in people's heads, but people who are pretending to be mentally unstable or insane, it seems like you'd be able to tell, because you've seen the real thing, maybe the voice is, oh, they speak in alien language. You wouldn't understand. You're like, okay, this person's legit. Or it's just a bunch of nonsense and you can tell they're making it up. Is that, am I getting somewhere with this?
[00:14:20] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. So there's a few telltale red flags, so I'll give you a few of them. Generally speaking, when people have true psychotic experiences, when they have real auditory hallucinations, they feel real.
[00:14:31] So when somebody says, "Voices inside my head," I'm already suspicious because an actual auditory hallucination feels as real as you hearing my voice now. So it's actually external outside to somebody's head, even though people say voices in my head, it's not actually that accurate, number one. Number two, the voices generally in psychosis tend to be, how do I put this quite blunt. So if somebody says they have a really detailed like intellectual conversation with a voice. It's not impossible, but it's really unlikely. It's usually just one message, and it's usually a negative message like, "You're a piece of sh*t," or, "people think you're a pedophile," or, "these people want to rape you."
[00:15:05] So they're just like very short, simple phrases that repeat over and over again. That's far more realistic than these long intelligible conversations.
[00:15:14] Jordan Harbinger: That's something, and you know what? That shed some light on. A lot of times when we see people who are clearly suffering from mental illness, walking through New York or San Francisco or San Jose. They'll say something like, "Stop looking at me." And I'm like, whoa, they're not even talking to me. They're just yelling at somebody. And I'm thinking, how do they not know that there's no one there? And if you say, well, they're having hallucinations, auditory, and possibly otherwise, they don't realize that there's not somebody behind them that's following them or looking at them. They actually see that and they actually hear that. Their brain is, their senses are not working properly, right?
[00:15:45] Dr. Sohom Das: Absolutely. And they tend to be relentless as well. So it tends to be the same phrase over and over again. Some of the patients that I see have what we call command hallucinations. So instead of derogatory comments, they'll say things like, "Kill that man. That man's watching you."
[00:15:57] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:15:58] Dr. Sohom Das: "That man wants to kill you. Stab him." And they're just relentless. So I've spoken to patients. And some of them not all, some of them will literally hear the same phrase over and over again. Pretty much their entire waking lives, you know, over weeks and months. So I guess the point I'm trying to make is, it's easy for you and I to say, you know, why would you listen to those voices?
[00:16:14] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:16:14] Dr. Sohom Das: But if it's just this relentless kind of repetitive impulse, it's really hard to resist over the time.
[00:16:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's like the Chinese water torture where they drip on you, but it's like for weeks and months at a time in the same spot.
[00:16:25] Dr. Sohom Das: Absolutely.
[00:16:26] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, yeah. Yikes. Okay. I don't know if you should answer this question, but I'm going to ask you anyway and you can pass. If you were going to fake a mental illness, how would you do it successfully, knowing what you know about mental illness?
[00:16:37] Dr. Sohom Das: The first thing I would say is that it's really hard to do.
[00:16:40] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:16:40] Dr. Sohom Das: Because of what I said before that a good forensic psychiatrist will look at all of the evidence. Let's pick a hypothetical situation. Let's say that you wanted to stab somebody and you wanted to blame it on mental illness. If I was going to fake it, which by the way, I'm not advocating for anybody, but if you were going to do that, you can't just fake it on the day. You have to fake it for weeks and months beforehand. And it has to bleed into your functioning.
[00:17:03] So it's got to be affecting your work, probably to the degree that just comes to the attention of psychiatric services, or at least your family members. So people have been saying for weeks or months that this person's been acting a little bit odd, a little bit off, a little bit paranoid. That's the first thing I'd do.
[00:17:17] The second thing I would do would be to make sure that at the time of me stabbing that person, lots of people thought that I was hearing voices, so I'd be acting bizarrely, responding to myself on the streets so that the witness statements that I will read as the forensic psychiatrist from passes by, from the police officers that arrest you consistently say that you've been hearing voices.
[00:17:39] And also another example would be the police interview transcripts. So I read the police interviews after the person's been arrested. Again, if somebody's acting completely normal in the police interview, but saying they're hearing voices, then I'm suspicious.
[00:17:50] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:17:50] Dr. Sohom Das: So I would make sure that I'm hearing those voices during that police interview as well. And finally, the last thing I'd say is I wouldn't try too hard to convince the forensic psychiatrist. Like, I wouldn't say immediately, I'm hearing voices. I wouldn't respond to them immediately. I'd do it in a really sort of subtle way that it's just more convincing, I think it's more subtle.
[00:18:07] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah. Have you heard of Vincent Gigante, Vinny the Chin? He's a mobster from—
[00:18:13] Dr. Sohom Das: Vinny the Chin. Yes.
[00:18:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:14] Dr. Sohom Das: Yes, I think so.
[00:18:15] Jordan Harbinger: This is right in your wheelhouse. In the mid-1960s, they started calling him the odd father because he would be shuffling around his Greenwich Village neighborhood and pajamas. He'd be wearing a bathrobe and slippers only. He'd be mumbling to himself. He would just look like this disturbed, but harmless guy. But law enforcement, prosecutors, mafia defectors, you know, guys who flipped, they would say, it's fake, it's fake, it's fake. And he evaded prosecution. He was like one of the, if not the biggest mafia leaders in New York, and probably even up to the mid-1990s. He was one of the wealthiest mobsters and he would just mumble around. Sometimes he would pee outside, I want to say. I could also be adding these details off of memory, but I remember people would just go, and finally a judge was like, "Cut the sh*t, man. You know, we know from—" I don't know, surveillance or something that he would, you know, as soon as he gets home and be like, sits down and has normal conversations with people or something. I don't know how they caught him, but basically, they eventually found that he was humiliating himself publicly and that was the price for escaping a long prison sentence or prosecution in the first place. Really, really like committed to the bit though.
[00:19:22] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. You have to commit like, you know, months of your life to it. And the other thing I'd say is that I think there's a misconception that if you get something like a psychiatric defense, let's say not guilty by reason of insanity, I'm sure you've heard that phrase. There's this conception that, perception that that's it, that the case has dropped and you are just released back onto the streets. That's very rarely the case, especially if you've committed serious violence.
[00:19:44] So somebody like him, if he managed to convince and fool the forensic psychiatrist and the judge, he wouldn't be released. He'd go to one of these secure units, possibly for years. And so it's a fact, it's not that uncommon for our defendants to spend longer detained under the Mental Health Act in a psychiatric unit than the equivalent prison sentence.
[00:20:02] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, I found this, he said, FBI agents in 1986 observed the townhouse where Vinny the Chin was going and hanging out from a nearby rooftop post. Soon after arriving, Mr. Gigante would change into more elegant clothes, carry on fluent conversations with associates, read and watch television before retiring. About nine or 10 the next morning, he would reappear in a shabby downtown clothes, you know, like ripped windbreaker and pajamas, and be driven back to Sullivan Street or nearby apartment occupied by his mom. He basically like pretended to live with his mom, and then he would go to this fancy club and hang out. I mean, that is weird, you know, because normally mafia guys, like they're supposed to be these arrogant, sort of, you know, reputation as everything. And here this guy is peeing in the middle of Greenwich Village wearing dirty clothes. He fooled everybody.
[00:20:48] Dr. Sohom Das: He sounds like committed, but he didn't quite commit enough.
[00:20:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah.
[00:20:51] Dr. Sohom Das: Like he really wants to fool the system, you have to be, it's like a method actor, I guess. You know, you have to be in that character 24/7.
[00:20:57] Jordan Harbinger: But then it then wears your life right at that point. What are you doing at that point? Ugh, man. Is there a time that stands out where you really got it totally wrong? You got totally duped by a patient? Maybe not Vinny the Chin, but surely somebody's pulled one over on you during your career.
[00:21:12] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. It's happened a couple of times. I'm going to tell a slightly different story if that's all right with you.
[00:21:15] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, yeah.
[00:21:16] Dr. Sohom Das: I think it's a bit more interesting.
[00:21:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:17] Dr. Sohom Das: So it's a time where, kind of the opposite. So I was convinced that a female con artist had fooled the courts despite the fact that I said that she was faking it. So I talk about her in my book, I call her Daryna, that's not her real name. So she was very different from most of the defendants I see. She was very well-to-do. She came from a very privileged background and she went quite high up in the corporate world. So she was an investment banker, became a multimillionaire.
[00:21:40] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:21:40] Dr. Sohom Das: She was married to a CEO. She was very rich. So basically what happened is that she lost a lot of the money, partially through the divorce, and she helped her two co-defendants. So one was her own cousin and one was a man that she had an affair with, who she used to work with. And they had these like carbon credits, frauds. I don't really understand the ins and outs of the fraud, but they defrauded lots of people, businessmen off millions of pounds. And her role was just to siphon the money. So she didn't actually directly commit any fraud face to face. She just laundered the money.
[00:22:11] So the reason I was asked to assess her was because tragically she had a child who had a very rare form of leukemia during her trial at the Old Bailey. So they stayed her trial, so they froze her part of the trial, carried on trying her two co-defendants, both found guilty, both went to prison. And she managed to evade the first court case because she was in this situation where she had to take the kid to the hospital, et cetera.
[00:22:32] Fast forward a year and her son recovers, but is still kind of cheating on the edge, so he could relapse at any moment, and she completely refused to engage in the court process. So she didn't answer any letters. She didn't take any phone calls from her solicitors. She just basically, you know, just went la la la la la and tried to ignore the whole thing. And then, she was assessed by quite a renowned forensic psychiatrist, one of my colleagues, and I believe that she pulled the wall over this man's eyes. So she was crying relentlessly in the assessment saying that she was too upset to even consider or talk about the crimes that she allegedly committed. And he, I think, was totally duped. So he said that she would not fit to plead and that the charges should be dropped because she couldn't go through the court process.
[00:23:12] So the CPS, which is our prosecution in the UK, was suspicious, rightly so. So they instructed me to carry out this assessment of her, which I did, and I smelt that something was off right from the beginning. So there were just parts of the story didn't add up. So, for example, she was able to tell me, she was crying pretty much the entire time, but I didn't let her get away with it. So, you know, I was empathetic, offered her tissues, but I didn't stop the assessment like the other psychiatrist did. And she was able to tell me in detail after the tears, loads of specifics about her earlier life, education, family. But when it came to talking about the alleged offenses, she said that she was too upset and she couldn't remember.
[00:23:48] Jordan Harbinger: It's like super convenient, right? She just can't remember the elements of her crime, but she remembers all this other stuff in her life.
[00:23:53] Dr. Sohom Das: Absolutely that, and I made it easy for her by giving her some options. So I said, you know, okay, you can't tell me the ins and outs of what you did or you didn't do. What kind of offense was it. She couldn't answer the question. Was it fraud? Was it assault? Was it arson? Couldn't answer the questions. Who are the co-defendants in your trial? And she said that she couldn't remember. So it didn't add up to me that even if she did have memory problems, because she was depressed, which is possible, it didn't make sense to me that she couldn't even recall these really basic details. So basically, I call bullsh*t. I mean, obviously, I had to word my report very carefully because I can't overtly say that I think she's lying.
[00:24:26] Jordan Harbinger: Your honor, my diagnosis is, this is bullsh*t.
[00:24:29] Dr. Sohom Das: Exactly. Yeah. So it's tempting to say that.
[00:24:31] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sure it is. But the courtroom where everybody has to wear a crazy wig doesn't sound like the place that they're going to let that slide.
[00:24:38] Dr. Sohom Das: The opposite of what you just said happened. So the judge actually overturned my evidence. So to my absolute surprise, despite what I said, you know, I worded it very carefully.
[00:24:45] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:24:45] Dr. Sohom Das: I said that, you know, there's no psychiatric explanation of why she would have this kind of memory loss, which is my polite way of saying I don't believe her without directly saying it. To my surprise, the judge actually went with the other expert's evidence and dropped the case.
[00:24:59] Jordan Harbinger: Dang.
[00:24:59] Dr. Sohom Das: I think, I don't know this from facts, but I think because they had the two main co-defendants behind bars, I think, they had like, she was just a consolation prize, so I don't think they were that bothered about putting her through the trial process, but I think it's all bullsh*t.
[00:25:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's wild. So she got away with all that fraud. What the hell man? Scary. Scary that somebody like that also as a child and is like, "You can get away with anything. Just pretend you don't understand what's going on," I mean, that's not a role model that you want to have out in society.
[00:25:26] How do you restrain someone if they're aggressive while you're dealing with them? I know like straight jackets probably are from a hundred years ago and you don't use those anymore, right?
[00:25:34] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. So if I'm doing like a one-off assessment, say in somebody in prison, and if they get too agitated, then from my experience there isn't that much point in kind of restraining them or forcing them to talk to me because I can't make a helpful diagnosis if they're just not willing to talk. So in that situation, I will do what I talked about before, I will say in my court report that I couldn't do the assessment, but I look at all the other evidence, all the medical notes.
[00:25:58] But if you're talking about restraining somebody whilst they're in hospital, so when the part of my job, which is rehabilitating people, that is something that you have to get on top of. So there's like an emergency nursing team. So I wouldn't say that there's violence on the wards all the time, but certainly from my experience, once every few weeks, once every month or so, people will kick off on the wards because you've got people with a long history of violence. People that have like all these psychotic experiences we're talking about.
[00:26:23] So the first thing that you do is you try and de-escalate the situation. If there's something specific, like the patient doesn't want extra medication or they won't leave, but you're refusing to get them to leave because they're too aggressive, then you try and explain that now's not the time to have that conversation because they're a bit too aggressive. If that doesn't work, then you offer them some medication, so like a sedative. And then if that doesn't work, you press your buzzer. If you think that you are in physical danger, which has happened to me a few times, and then the emergency nursing team comes.
[00:26:51] I'd say about 50 percent of the time the patient will see that there's all these nurses and they will see that, you know, some sh*t's about to kick off. So that in itself kind of de-escalates the situation. And then 50 percent of the time it doesn't. In which case the nursing team are actually trained. So once a year we go through like all these holes and actually learn how to sort of grapple with patients in the safest possible way. And the nursing team will like take them physically, restrain them. There's usually like one or two per arm, one or two per leg. And if necessary we'll put them in a seclusion room. So all forensic units have this like it's what it used to be thought of as the padded cell, but it's not actually padded, it's just like a cell with no furniture that could be picked up or weaponized. And the patient's kind of kept there and observed closely for a shorter period of time as possible until they're safe to return onto the
[00:27:37] Jordan Harbinger: ward.
[00:27:37] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Dr. Sohom Das. We'll be right back.
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[00:30:40] Now, back to Sohom Das.
[00:30:43] I feel bad for everybody involved. You probably get training for dealing with this and certainly the nursing team that has to restrain some big dude also has training. What is it like you grab the left arm and you grab the right, I mean, some of these guys are going to be much stronger than any other person, than many other people? You probably need four people to restrain some of these guys, right?
[00:31:03] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing that I think sometimes gets another misassumption when you look at these TV dramas that you get all these burly kind of orderlies—
[00:31:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:12] Dr. Sohom Das: —in these psychiatric units, you know, they have these massively built men. In reality, it's not like that at all. They're just like a normal range of people, probably more female than male, usually middle aged. And as you say, sometimes they're on these medium secure units and you get these really big dangerous guys. So yeah, it makes my heart flutter even like thinking about it.
[00:31:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I did assume that you had a bunch of big former college, high school, whatever football players and it's like, oh, hey, we need the guys who can scare these dudes with one mean look. Nope. It's actually going to be. Your mother-in-law going in there, grabbing the dude's right leg, the left leg, and keeping him calm. That just seems really dangerous, of course.
[00:31:49] What are the most common diagnoses of the violent criminals that you see? Is it psychopathy? Is that, or is that an outdated term? I never know the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath, or if it's the same thing.
[00:32:00] Dr. Sohom Das: So in terms of the one-off assessments that I do for medico-legal work, by far I would see more people with more personality disorders. It's only a very small proportion that have these psychotic illnesses, and they're the ones that end up in the psychiatric units. To answer your question, yeah, so by far the most common diagnosis would be antisocial personality disorder.
[00:32:19] Very briefly, I'll summarize antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, psychopathy, and sociopathy. So antisocial personality disorder, very common in the patients that I see. So that's somebody that's impulsive, aggressive, doesn't care about the rights and wrongs of other people. They don't learn from their mistakes. So what I mean by that is, you know, they'll have repeated prison sentences and they won't change their lifestyles. So these people are career criminals. They're your natural thugs, your kind of, you know, gangsters, your drug dealers. These are people who intend to offend. They don't do it sort of accidentally or possibly.
[00:32:50] Then you have psychopathy, which is like, I would say that's the bigger brother of antisocial personality disorder. So it's all of those things I mentioned. But they tend to be really charming and manipulative and deceitful. It's not obvious that they're antisocial. In fact, they can be actually very charming and pleasant. They can be your friends, they can be your neighbors, they can be your work colleagues, but they will stab anybody in the back to get their promotion. So they're massively overrepresented as well as in the prison population, also in like the corporate world CEOs.
[00:33:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:33:20] Dr. Sohom Das: The difference between that and sociopathy. So psychopathy is a clinical psychiatric term, so diagnosis. Sociopathy is more of a social, informal term. Very briefly, sociopaths tend not to be quite as skilled as psychopaths in fitting into society. So they live on the fringes. They tend to sort of, you know, be outlaws and they tend to be career criminals, a bit like antisocial personality disorder. Plus, they can't contain their age. So if you piss off a psychopath, his dish of revenge will be served cold. He will plot for weeks or months how to hurt you when you're least expecting it. Whereas if you piss off a sociopath, they don't have the emotional stability to do that, so they'll just explode in anger.
[00:33:59] And then, finally borderline, borderline is a kind of category of its own. So it's often misunderstood as, I think you just said yourself as being like a borderline diagnosis, but it's an antiquated phrase and it came from being borderline between a personality disorder and a psychosis.
[00:34:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:14] Dr. Sohom Das: But that's not a very good description of it. The difference is, is that people with borderline, they don't intend to offend. So they're not antisocial. They do care about other people. They do have empathy, but they have these really unstable relationships and they explode with anger. So they just can't contain their emotions.
[00:34:29] So a borderline person will act violently in the context of an argument with like their boyfriend, their mother. It's usually people that they're quite close to and know intimately. And they have the arguments like we all do, but they just explode and they lash out with anger. But the difference is they regret it immediately. So they don't mean to offend, they just can't contain their emotions. And then, you know, hours afterwards they feel really bad and sometimes they hurt people close to them physically and you know, mentally and emotionally, but they, they regret it afterwards. Whereas antisocial people, psychopaths, they don't regret it.
[00:34:59] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me a little bit about how you testify in the criminal courts, these assessments we've talked about a little bit, expert witness work. I know you've done something like 500-plus cases for criminal court alone, right?
[00:35:10] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably close to a thousand.
[00:35:12] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow. Yeah, I'm outdated in my number here. So, that's a lot of you seeing people evaluating them. Tell me about what that's like. I know in the book you rail against so-called cowboy experts where it's an expert hired by one side and one side will call their testimony pretty much only if beneficial. I'm not a hundred percent sure on that and I'm thinking, isn't that all we do here in the United States? I don't think they call an expert and they go, this is devastating to my case, but we already paid the guy. I think that's all we have are cowboy experts in the states.
[00:35:42] Dr. Sohom Das: So when you are an expert witness, you have to be completely 100 percent objective, honest, and neutral. There's a problem with that. And the problem is, is that you get paid by one side.
[00:35:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:52] Dr. Sohom Das: So the majority of the time you get all experts get paid, psychiatric experts get paid and instructed by the defense, simply because the defense is the first person that gets to ask for evidence.
[00:36:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:36:03] Dr. Sohom Das: And it's only if the prosecution doesn't believe that report or thinks that the expert is not being neutral. Like for example, in the case of Daryna, the fraud when they instructed me. So that's only a very small proportion. Maybe 10 percent of the time they call their own experts. So just by the nature of the work, a lot of it, most of it's for the defendants. And so if you're not a very good expert, or if you are greedy or you are money hungry, if you want to grab them dollars, then it's quite easy to, I wouldn't say lie, but I'd say twist the evidence to make somebody look ill than they actually are.
[00:36:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:36:32] Dr. Sohom Das: It's really not that hard to do. All you do is emphasize the times that there is some evidence of some sort of mental disorder in the history and maybe over egg how the patient presented in front of you. It's not really that hard to do. And some people do that, and I can tell that they do it because I just read their reports and they just don't seem objective. Or I look at the medical notes and they've mentioned the five assessments where this person was suspected of having a mental illness and was sectioned, but they don't mention the 20 assessments that they had where there was no evidence of mental illness. So that's a really easy way to tell if somebody's kind of twisting the evidence or not.
[00:37:06] The problem with that, apart from obviously it being unethical, is that you could be cross-examined in court. So if you've got a good barrister who's had the time to read through all the notes, which often they don't just because of the nature of their work, that they can pull those things out and you can be professionally kind of embarrassed. And there have been cases of expert witnesses in the UK who've been struck off.
[00:37:24] Jordan Harbinger: So a barrister for people who are like, what are you talking about? That's essentially a lawyer who can go to trial. So in the UK, you guys separate solicitors who are us paper-pushing type lawyers from barristers, which are guys who can go to trial and run a case. In the states, in theory, you're qualified to do either of those things upon graduating from law school and being admitted to the bar. We don't really specialize in that way in a formal way. You know, an attorney who does a bunch of real estate documentation can in theory also go and work at a court. It's a little more complex than that, but I think people are, I want to make sure people don't go, "What the hell is a barrister? I'm lost." The prosecutor or the defendant will try and pick apart an expert. And the same thing happens in the states too. Sorry, continue.
[00:38:05] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. Not to be mistaken for a barista who serves you coffee.
[00:38:08] Jordan Harbinger: Some lawyers and some baristas are actually equally qualified to be in court at any given time but that's another episode of the show.
[00:38:16] Dr. Sohom Das: No comment from me cause I don't want to get blackballed by my legal colleagues.
[00:38:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:20] Dr. Sohom Das: But the problem with that is that if you've got a good lawyer, they can cross-examine you and basically call bullsh*t if you are too one-sided. My understanding is in the States they should, it should be the same.
[00:38:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:30] Dr. Sohom Das: It should be that the experts are neutral and objective. But as I said, if you get a good result for your solicitor, then your solicitor's likely to, you know, pay you and instruct you more for more cases. So there's always that temptation.
[00:38:41] Jordan Harbinger: A friend of mine right now, he is trying to take down a company that is these two women and they defend pedophiles, by saying, "Oh, we did forensic analysis on their computer, and the stuff wasn't there." And what they're doing is they're like destroying the evidence or making it inaccessible or just ignoring that it's even there. And they're going to court and lying on the stand and getting these pedophiles free. And of course, they're being called by the defense of any pedophile who has their phone number, or I should say the council of any pedophile who has their phone number because they will go up there and just blatantly lie and then cash the check the $10,000 or whatever their fee is. And it's really gross because, of course, you're not supposed to do that. Of course, it's a crime. It actually gets even worse. Tell me about the baby cot death doctor.
[00:39:31] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. So this is a fascinating but horrific case. So there's a lady called Sally Clark, who incidentally herself, was actually a solicitor and she got accused of killing both of her two infant babies. So this was, I can't remember the exact year, I believe it was 2001. I might have got that wrong. And basically what happened was that the prosecution accused her of intentionally killing both of the children. And they called the expert witnesses. And there was a man called Professor Sir Roy Meadow. So he was a sir, he was a knight. He was very well respected in his field and to all intent purposes, he was a very good pediatrician. The problem is, is that when he gave evidence in court, I don't believe he did this intentionally. I don't believe there was any sort of malice behind this because he's an expert in cot death. He said that it didn't look like cot death.
[00:40:17] So he stated that Sally Clark killed her own baby and because it happened twice, he said some sort of really glib remark, like the chance of it happening in one family is one in whatever million. The chance of it happening twice in the same family is one in 63 million, I believe is the statistic that he used. And he even made further, even more kind of glib comments about the chance, that's like picking the Grand National, which is a famous horse race in the UK win three years in a row out of all of the horses. That's the same probability. So he's basically saying that it's almost impossible for this to be cot death.
[00:40:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It's like getting struck by lightning twice in your driveway. It is never going to happen. So, and it turned out to be totally inaccurate and this guy should probably stick to jousting or whatever.
[00:41:01] Dr. Sohom Das: Exactly. Yeah. So it was exactly, totally inaccurate. So other experts, after she'd already been sentenced to prison for murder of her two children, other experts reexamined the evidence. They said there was lots of factors, like, for example, a respiratory gene, which makes it more likely for babies to die of cot death, environmental factors of the actual bed itself, which would've been the same for the two babies. So when you look at the statistics, it's much, much lower possibility of this happening.
[00:41:26] So she was charged and convicted for murdering her own kids. She got really badly bullied in prison, as you would expect because everyone thought she was a baby killer. When she eventually did get appealed and the evidence was overthrown, she got released and she got vindicated. And then tragically she died of alcohol abuse just within a couple of years after that.
[00:41:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, she just drank herself to death out of stress and sadness and grief because her kids died, and then she went and got blamed for it and then got tortured by the prisoners and then got out and didn't have any kids. Oh, it's so awful.
[00:41:55] Dr. Sohom Das: And she got separated from another third child that she had while she was in prison as well.
[00:41:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that poor woman. That's horrible. Oh, it's so gross that this stuff just happens. It's so scary. What percentage of the population suffers from mental illness? Do we actually have any idea?
[00:42:10] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, it's difficult to answer a question, to answer simply because it depends how you define mental illness.
[00:42:15] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:42:15] Dr. Sohom Das: So if you're talking about something that's fairly broad, like some degree of anxiety and depression, then it is well over around a half, I'd say anywhere between 40 to 60 percent, depending on which study that you look at. If you're talking about severe mental illness. So the stuff that I see that can affect your criminal culpability. So if we're talking, you know, schizophrenia, that's about one percent. Bipolar affective disorder is roughly about the same one to two percent.
[00:42:38] Jordan Harbinger: That seems really high. That's a lot of people. I mean, one or two in a hundred, that's a ton of people.
[00:42:43] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. But obviously, there's a range of how severe that is. So I tend to see the people that are on the very severe end of the spectrum, people that need to go in and out of hospital or even prison for their adult lives. That's only, you know, at the tip of the iceberg, the vast majority managed to contain their illnesses much, much more effectively.
[00:43:00] Jordan Harbinger: Let's talk about mad versus bad. So crazy versus bad for us, yanks. The line is really hard to draw. Why is it hard to draw?
[00:43:09] Dr. Sohom Das: The reason it's hard to draw is because remember how I was saying before, there's a spectrum, and on one end you've got mad, which is psychosis, and on the other end you've got bad, which is personality disorder.
[00:43:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:17] Dr. Sohom Das: Because the vast majority of defendants have some element of both that I see. Remember I was talking about the confounding factors?
[00:43:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:23] Dr. Sohom Das: So because of their backgrounds, because of their trauma, physical sexual abuse, because of homelessness, abusive parents, drug abuse, they tend to have elements of mental illness as well as elements of personality disorder and elements of criminality. So what I'm saying is there's so many factors at play that people often have a little bit of mad and a little bit of bad.
[00:43:44] Having said all that, the one thing I would say is that even though psychiatry is full of gray areas, and even though there's people that are on different points on that spectrum, the law is very black and white. So you either have a psychiatric defense, like not guilty by reason of insanity or diminished responsibility for murder, or you don't. There's no gray areas here. And when they ask me for my opinion, they either want a yes or no, they don't want to hear this possibility or he has some element to this, some elements this, they don't care.
[00:44:09] Jordan Harbinger: Well, it depends like, dude, what do we pay you for? Figure it out. Yeah. Does it matter functionally? For society, it seems like, I don't care if they did it because they don't know that this person wasn't an alien and thereby murdered them. Or if they're just really a terrible person and they did it because they don't care and they're just saying this. Like, I don't care why my neighbor killed somebody else. I just don't want him to be my neighbor anymore. I want him to be behind bars.
[00:44:32] Dr. Sohom Das: So I think there's definitely an element of society, people that I talk to who have that kind of mindset that even if somebody was not responsible, so Yasmin is perfect example of that. Even if she was having delusional beliefs at the time, she killed a nephew, therefore she should be behind bars.
[00:44:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:44:48] Dr. Sohom Das: I talk to people who think that all the time, I can't subscribe that way thinking, because I'm a doctor. You know, I'm a doctor first, then I became a psychiatrist, then I became a forensic psychiatrist. So I personally believe that there's redemption in people who have mental illnesses when that has caused their actions, if they knew what they're doing.
[00:45:03] Jordan Harbinger: I understand that, right? Because you can medicate them or therapize them to the point where they are not actually dangerous.
[00:45:09] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. And you know, I literally do that for a living.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:45:12] Dr. Sohom Das: So there are people that will say that's not possible. And you can't rehabilitate certain people that have committed certain crimes.
[00:45:17] Jordan Harbinger: They're not doctors, so who cares what their opinion is? Right? They're not doctors and they're not experts. So we don't have to listen to those people.
[00:45:24] Some of your cases though, the perpetrator, they just can't understand the process or their crimes at all, right? And others, they seem to know, but they don't care about others. They feel entitled. That's the difference. So if somebody just doesn't understand what's going on, if we can get them to a point where they do, and like with Yasmin, let's talk about Yasmin, because she didn't know what was going on, and then she did, and that was sort of part of the tragedy, right?
[00:45:46] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. Yeah. So Yamin, as I said, it's the first case I talk about in my book. It's probably to this day one of the, if not the most kind, emotional case that I've experienced myself.
[00:45:55] So very quick bit of background. I mentioned earlier, she's 18 years old. At the time that she killed her two-year-old nephew, she had no antisocial behavior at all. Never even got detention at school, no signs of mental illness at all. Came from quite hardworking kind of immigrant family. The whole family lived together, so she lived with her parents and her siblings who had their own children. She had what I think is called a prodrome. So that's like a little harbinger—
[00:46:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:19] Dr. Sohom Das: —of a psychosis.
[00:46:20] Jordan Harbinger: Prodrome?
[00:46:21] Dr. Sohom Das: Prodrome, yes. Yeah, yeah, exactly right.
[00:46:23] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:46:23] Dr. Sohom Das: In the scenario of psychosis is called a prodrome. So it's not quite full psychosis, but it's like an indication that psychosis is coming. So she acted bizarrely. She started listening to this weird chanting music. She started wearing odds baggy clothes. She was telling her family off for watching smut on TV even though they were watching the same sitcom that they always used to watch together. So she acted bizarre, but nothing that would indicate that she would take life.
[00:46:49] And then she was babysitting her two-year-old nephew one day when she had three periods from school. She had these delusional beliefs that I fully believed that she thought were true at the time. So she believed that her nephew had some sort of demon inside of him. And so she suffocated him with a pillow to end his life because she believed it was the only way that she could get rid of this demon. And she was convinced that she could resurrect him when the full moon came out later on the evening. So she did this, she didn't try and sort of hide her behavior in any way. She told her mother what she'd done when her mother came back home from work a few hours later, which to me is really telling because somebody who knows what they're doing is wrong will, you know, run away, try and hide their actions, try and make excuses, etcetera.
[00:47:26] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:47:27] Dr. Sohom Das: So she got arrested, unsurprisingly, she got remanded to a big female prison called Holloway Prison, which is where I saw her. And I found her really hard to assess because to bit like what you were asking about before, she was really paranoid and really closed off. So she was superficially polite but very passive-aggressive and she wouldn't tell me what her thought processes were. So everything about the demons that I mentioned, we found that out months later. She just literally said she couldn't remember what happened and refused to talk to me. So I managed to convince the Ministry of Justice to transfer her over to our medium secure female unit. At the time I had to give evidence for her murder trial at the Old Bailey, which is like the main criminal court in the UK.
[00:48:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I've been there. A very intimidating place to go and have a trial. You certainly don't want to be in the dock as a defendant, but even just walking in there, it's really like you're in trouble now, even if you're just going to work.
[00:48:15] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. How, how have you been doing that?
[00:48:17] Jordan Harbinger: When I worked in London, I used to be an attorney, so they were like, "Hey, do you guys want to see the Old Bailey and go in there?" And we went in there and we got to check out some of the wigs that the barristers use, those curly things that they still wear, which is kind of crazy. They're super itchy and uncomfortable, depending. A lot of courtrooms are like this, even in the United States where they're, everything is wood inside and very formal. But the Old Bailey, it's been there for a while and they've had some crazy cases in there for centuries. And a lot of people, if memory serves, there's been a lot of death sentences handed down in there hundreds of years ago or whatever it is. So, there's gravitas to the place.
[00:48:49] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a perfect word, gravitas. Yes, there's statues, there's sort of Latin inscriptions. So I gave evidence and I've got to be honest, I was sh*t scared at the time because I was just a middle-grade doctor, first time I'd ever given evidence in a murder trial. Plus it was really hard to fully know what was going on with her mental health because she was so guarded. We'd observed her own ward, so she would make really odd comments. So for example, she asked me to print out everything on the Internet about reincarnation. And then when I asked her why she kind of took the comment back and refused to discuss it anymore.
[00:49:20] She'd make these really odd, bizarre religious kind of questions. Like, for example, would a Muslim person go to hell if they had ham sandwich by accident? And then when I asked her why she asked me that question, again, she would shut down. So it's really hard to elicit the symptoms. But on the strength of my evidence, she ended up getting a hospital order. So she went to prison for long-term rehabilitation, whereas the prosecution were pushing for a life sentence for murder and she almost certainly wouldn't have taken her medication in prison because she had no insight. Whereas in hospital, we were allowed to enforce injections onto her, which luckily, we didn't have to do for too long because she reluctantly agreed to take the medications.
[00:49:55] One of the interesting aspects of this case was that it took 18 months, Jordan, to medicate her to the point where her delusional beliefs ended. So she was a hundred percent convinced for that entire period of time that she hadn't killed a nephew, that everyone else was, you know, lying that she had resurrected him. It took that long for her to actually realize, and it goes back to what you were saying about whether people feel guilty or not. So she didn't feel guilty for the first 18 months, but that wasn't because she's narcissistic or nasty or antisocial, it's because she was psychotic. And then eventually, her delusional beliefs assuaged and this tsunami of guilt encompassed her reality. She finally realized what she'd actually done, and then she went into this massive, deep, dark depression—
[00:50:33] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:50:33] Dr. Sohom Das: —self-harmed on the ward. We had to treat her with, you know, therapy for her depression. We had to treat her with antidepressants as well as antipsychotics. Part of her rehabilitation was family therapy. So her brother, who's the father of the child, that she killed, was part of that therapy. So I'd sit in a room on a weekly basis to try and kind of repair that relationship. So it was just really sort of fascinating but emotionally draining for me.
[00:50:54] Jordan Harbinger: I'm surprised he was willing to do that. I don't think I could forgive anybody or participate in their recovery after they murdered my kid. I don't care what their reason is. But again, if it was my sister, I don't know what do you do. That guy is a better man than I, I think probably, you know, I don't know if I would.
[00:51:10] Dr. Sohom Das: I think it's a better man than I as well. I think I would agree with you there. But I suppose from his perspective, she was 18 years old when she did this, therapy started maybe two years after that, so for 18 years, he's seen a normal sister that he loves and that he's close to. I guess what I'm trying to say is, is maybe in his head, this new mentally ill version of her is only a very short period of time compared to the 18 lucid, sane years that he knew her.
[00:51:34] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:51:35] Dr. Sohom Das: So maybe he hung onto that. I don't know.
[00:51:37] Jordan Harbinger: What's scary about this is, yeah, she started listening to chanting music and dressing weird. But she was, was she a teenager?
[00:51:43] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. 18.
[00:51:43] Jordan Harbinger: You know, you would never notice if a teenager is acting a little bit weird. That's their whole job to listen to weird music and dress weird. And then shaming them for watching smut on TV, you'd be like, "That's weird," but then you'd think, "Oh, she's smoking pot in a room or something." You wouldn't think like, "Oh, she's literally going insane." She was in medical school, right? So she wasn't like a strange duck or somebody who had a bunch of issues already. She was, by kind of all metrics, really going places. Unfortunately, she ended up going down the tubes because of this illness.
[00:52:11] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. And I'm sure her family and her brother must have asked themselves the question, "Could we have done something sooner, and what we could have done?"
[00:52:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:19] Dr. Sohom Das: Honestly, my professional opinion is, I don't know, they could have done anything different. She maybe could have had a psychiatric assessment within those few weeks, but at the level of symptomatology she was showing, she probably wouldn't have been medicated. And if she was, it takes weeks for antipsychotics to work anyway. So I guess what I'm saying is, is this is one of those very rare occasions that even in retrospect, I don't know if the outcome could have been stopped.
[00:52:43] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Sohom Das. We'll be right back.
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[00:56:23] All right. Now for the rest of my conversation with Sohom Das.
[00:56:28] Right, when we read about people who've done horrible things, and then it's like, oh yeah, his neighbors report that every night he gets up on the roof and house at the moon and gets caught running around naked in the backyard, and he kills small animals. You're like, what the hell? You guys missed all this obvious stuff. This is partially on you, the blood's on your hands, but when it's like, yeah, she was listening to weird music and dressing weird, and then she had a temper tantrum about what we were watching on TV. It's like, okay, and? You know, just no prelude to murderous behavior at all.
[00:56:54] There are some other people who have got real heavy-duty stuff. Tell me about the guy who removed his own eyeballs in prison. That was just horrible. That's like straight out of Saw or something.
[00:57:07] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. So Yasmin's probably my most kind of emotional case, but this man's probably the case that kind of, it's the most extreme violence that I've seen anybody commit against themselves. I've even had other patients that have killed themselves and they don't stand out as being that kind of horrific and extreme as this man.
[00:57:23] So, yeah, so this was a man who I assessed in prison. He went there for a fairly minor offense, I believe it was arson in the context of having an argument. I think it was even a suicide attempt at the time. He went to prison and he just wasn't built for prison. He got bullied, targeted immediately. He's just like some fairly geeky quiet. He was in his 50s, some geeky guy. The other inmates didn't like him immediately and they started spreading rumors about him.
[00:57:46] So they falsely started telling everybody that he was a pedophile, which is not true. And they said that he had killed his girlfriend in the fire, which is not true. She wasn't in the apartment. And as I'm sure you'll know in the hierarchy of prison, I know it's even more pronounced in the States than it's in the UK, but it certainly exists in the UK, you know, people who sex offend against children and people who hurt women are seen as like the scum, the lowest of the low. So he was bullied. He was targeted. He was punched several times. He went into the protective custody wing, but people were still sort of messing with him, still beating him up. And none of this was his fault, by the way.
[00:58:17] And so, he basically developed a psychotic illness very quickly, that I am fairly sure was related to the stress of this. And he started having these weird, delusional beliefs that people were chanting about him in the middle of the night trying to use voodoo magic on him which wasn't true. And crucially, he believed that his eyeballs contained this power and that other prisoners would want to kill and remove his eyeballs, eat his eyeballs, to give them this superhuman strength that they would use to break out in the prison, obviously completely delusional.
[00:58:45] So he thought in his mind that the only way to survive this to not die would be to remove his own eyeballs. So that is literally what he did. So he was stuck in a segregation cell. He used a plastic knife in the first eyeball, which snapped.
[00:58:58] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:58:58] Dr. Sohom Das: He literally used his fingers for the second eyeball.
[00:59:00] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god, the amount of mental strength it would take to do that is incredible.
[00:59:04] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah.
[00:59:05] Jordan Harbinger: I'm trying to look on the bright side. There's not a whole lot of bright sides to this. That's horrible. Did he ever get to a point where he was not delusional and was he like, "Holy crap, I took my eyeballs out?"
[00:59:14] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:59:15] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, no.
[00:59:16] Dr. Sohom Das: So the reason that I assessed him was because, so I should say that I assessed him actually like two years after this happened. So I didn't see any of this happening, but I heard all about it, read all the medical notes. I interviewed the nurses that were rushed to the scene straight after it.
[00:59:28] Just to end that story. So they tried to, they had to get what we call kitted up. So they had to put on their riot gear because the guy was obviously very, very dangerous. And it took about eight minutes from him beginning to take his first eyeball out before everyone got kitted in, and he just finished the second eyeball as soon as they'd got in.
[00:59:43] So he was trying to sue the prison mental health team for two reasons, first of all, for not recognizing his psychosis and not treating him. And number two, for not getting in there quick enough to stop him from doing that. So I saw him about two years later and he was completely sane, I have to say, because I, I read the notes obviously before I assessed him, and I was expecting somebody that had like a chronic psychosis that would be delusional or have these strange ideas but he was completely lucid. He still had some paranoid ideas about the prison staff at the time. Like he believed that they were conspiring against him and that they were laughing at him when he was removing his eyeballs. Obviously, that wasn't true, but he believed that as a delusional memory. But aside from that, he was, yeah, completely lucid.
[01:00:19] Jordan Harbinger: Your job sounds really frustrating sometimes people don't cooperate. They spit on you, they curse at you. They don't follow your instructions. They won't take their medication. They can be dangerous, they can be racist, they can threaten you. Like, why do this job? Just raise teenagers or something.
[01:00:34] Dr. Sohom Das: Well, I don't know. I just find it fascinating, really. I've always, always found criminality fascinating. I think people with mental illnesses, especially psychotic mental illnesses, to hear their beliefs that they a hundred percent invested in. Yeah, I don't have a better answer than that, I'm afraid. I just find it really interesting.
[01:00:48] Jordan Harbinger: No, it's totally acceptable. I was just curious because, in a way, you're a glutton for punishment, right? It's not like a glamorous job in many ways. And you still, you went to medical school and everything, you could do all kinds of different stuff and this is what you chose. And I think it's really interesting too, but, you know, somebody threatening to stab me with a syringe, I'll pass, you know, I'll pass on that.
[01:01:07] Dr. Sohom Das: One thing I would say, right, is I went to medical school, lots of my friends and doctors, and almost none of them have actually gone into psychiatry, let alone forensic psychiatry and you know, some of them very successful and most are surgeons, but like, there must be a sameness, right? Once you've done a shoulder operation, once you've done a couple of hundred of them, they must be very similar. Whereas at least my cases, and some of them are, you know, I'm telling you the most fascinating, the most gory, that some of them are obviously a bit more routine, but it's just interesting to know about people's backgrounds and the crazy things that they've done and the violent things that they've done. I'd rather read the case notes of that going into work every day than, you know, having to read operation notes of who needs their shoulder placed in what position.
[01:01:43] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, I hear that this is not a PC question, but do you feel like you've collected a new Pokemon when you find somebody with a new mental illness that you've never seen before? And I don't mean that you didn't know existed, and I don't mean to trivialize this at all, but I'm sure there's a better way to ask this. That wouldn't get me in trouble but screw it, here we are. If I'm you, I'm excited to see something new that I'd only read about, heard about from colleagues seen in the literature, and I'm like, oh, this is shared psychosis or whatever, you know? Wow. I've never come across one of these in the wild. And it's like, this is a good day because I saw this thing. And you go home and you tell your wife and she's like, I don't want to hear about this.
[01:02:19] Dr. Sohom Das: Yes is the answer to that. So I think like most areas of work to see something rare is rare. So the vast majority of the people that I see will have one of the answers that I've already mentioned. So, you know, schizophrenia, personality disorders, but occasionally, maybe, maybe less than once a year, I will come across something that is extremely rare that you read about new textbooks. So catatonia is a good example of that. Shared psychosis, which is called folie à deux is another example of that. So it happens very, very rarely, but yeah, it is quite exciting. Because like all medics, you have to do all like hours and hours of readings and exams when I was a junior doctor and to qualify. So there is something satisfying about reading something that a lot of psychiatrists will never see in their career and you get to see. Yeah.
[01:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I can kind of get behind that. I feel like I would feel the same way. It seems like being nonjudgmental is a key trait required in your job. You're dealing with pedophiles, you're dealing with other violent criminals. How do you manage that?
[01:03:11] Dr. Sohom Das: Basically, my answer to that would be that I am very, very clear in my head what my role is and what my role isn't.
[01:03:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:18] Dr. Sohom Das: So my role is never to decide whether somebody's guilty or not guilty.
[01:03:21] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:03:22] Dr. Sohom Das: And it's never to decide the length of punishment. If they end up going to prison. I can say that they should go to prison by saying that they shouldn't go to hospital by process of elimination. But I should never say how long the prison sentence should be. Because I trust and I have to trust in the court system. I know it's not perfect, and you do get miscarriages of justice. Sally Clark, we've already talked about today, as an example of that. My role is have they got a mental illness? Are they criminally responsible? Do they need treatment, hospital, or prison? What level of security of hospital, depending on how dangerous they are? Those are the things that I have to decide upon. If they've done something horrific. I've assessed dozens of men, women occasionally, but mostly men who've, you know, sexually assaulted men and women, children, killed strangers, killed family members even. I'm just very clear in my head that no matter what I might feel about them personally, and I do obviously have my own opinions, I'm just very clear that I don't let that bleed into my assessment and I don't let it bleed into my evidence.
[01:04:10] And sometimes I have to say that, I genuinely think that I've seen instances occasionally of my colleagues not doing that. I can see colleagues who are very judgemental in the tones of their evidence and their report. Both because they either really dislike an individual who's done something heinous or actually conversely the opposite. So sometimes, I see people who have vulnerable defendants, Yasmin's a perfect example of that. Or you know, women that have social issues from drug abuse to domestic abuse and you can tell in the evidence that the expert's gone the other way. They've been too sympathetic to try and kind of influence the judge. And I can understand where that comes from. It comes from a place of empathy, but that is not our role. Our role is to be completely neutral and objective.
[01:04:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you've got to separate the offender from the offense for better or for worse. And that almost seems like a superpower. I don't think I could do that. I'd be like, "Oh, but she's so nice and she's so remorseful and she's a little kid. And look at how she grew up. She was just dealing with so much stuff. Of course, she stabbed this guy when he pissed her off. Like I get that. He was a bastard too. Look at his record." You know, I would do that. And that's the opposite of what you're supposed to do.
[01:05:08] Dr. Sohom Das: Well, you can kind of do that a little bit. So I can certainly say exactly that situation. Say somebody, a young woman who lashed out in anger after years of abuse, I can certainly write those factors down in the main body of the report, and in my conclusion and indirectly, I can invite the judge to take those factors into consideration when the sentencing. But the difference is, is that if you cross a line as an expert, you might even use the phrase like, you know, she doesn't deserve a high level of punishment. You can't say that. Basically, what I'm saying is you put factual matters down, but you can't put your opinion on what the punishment should be.
[01:05:40] Jordan Harbinger: When we see these incel losers who go and shoot up schools and stuff like that, what characteristics do these guys have in common? Because to me, whenever I look into it, even a little, they all seem like freaking, they're just dumb, entitled, narcissistic, what else?
[01:05:55] Dr. Sohom Das: So I think you've hit the nail on the head with most of them. So they usually are quite isolated and withdrawn and marginalized. So these are not people that are popular at school and have lots of friends. Obviously, they're romantically and sexually unsuccessful, right? But almost by definition to be involuntary celibate. They tend to find their own little communities on the Internet and they kind of weaponize and encourage misogyny. So there's not just some people that have misogynistic views like Andrew Tate might have. Somebody who actually goes into a chatroom and encourages other people, sometimes more vulnerable people to go and commit violence. But of all the personality traits that stand out, the one that you mentioned, entitlement is by far the biggest one. So they feel entitled to sex. They feel that society is geared against them because they're not attractive that women of the same level of attraction go for men who are more attracted than them. So they think that the whole system is skewed against them.
[01:06:46] Jordan Harbinger: Can we spot these people in advance? I think the problem is, and everybody wants to know that about criminals, right? My gut says there's a ton of people out there who have the same bucket of characteristics and 0.01 percent of people who are in that bucket go on to commit violence, not even that percentage go on to commit violence. So it's probably a fool's errand to try and label those people in advance, right?
[01:07:09] Dr. Sohom Das: Yes, I would have to agree with that. So when you look at the risk factors for people becoming violent, everything that we've already talked about before, you know themselves, being victims of bullying, of violence, and being marginalized, there's so many people that fall into that category. But as you said, there're a very, very small proportion actually go on to commit violence, especially extreme violence.
[01:07:29] So the problem isn't being able to spot them or spot the red flags or the warning symptoms. That's easy. The problem is knowing which very small proportion of them will go on actually commit violence. Having said that, the easiest, simplest, and quickest predictor of future violence is previous violence, and it usually escalates. So what I'm saying is, is that there are people, especially young men, can be women as well, but the vast majority of the time it's young men who carry on offending, and their level of aggression and violence increases. And sometimes that's because the criminal justice system itself is a bit broken. So you know, it gives them not very good at arresting them or actually charging them. So, people who sexually offend are a very good example of this, that's one problem. Or they just don't learn from their mistakes. So they serve prison sentences, but they carry on committing violence. Those are the people that need the most kind of attention.
[01:08:18] And the other thing that I would say, it might be slightly unpopular, but I believe it to be true, is that sometimes they have mental health issues. So we're talking about incels before, a huge proportion of them have problems with anxiety and depression. If you take the models out of it, take the ethics out of it and just focus on it logistically, if you can help them with therapy, medication, socializing them so they're not so withdrawn and isolated, then I believe that you'll decrease the risk of future violence in a huge proportion of them.
[01:08:44] Jordan Harbinger: What about Internet trolls? Some of these people sound like psychos online, but I'm guessing it's not really the same. I mean, you're anonymous, you kind of had a bad day. You want to say some horrible sh*t to somebody, usually, you don't, but some of these people have nothing else to do. What's the psychology behind it? Have you ever sort of dived into these people, dove into these people?
[01:09:04] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. Yeah. I have actually. So I've done a video about Internet trolls and I talked about this tragic suicide of a young 14-year-old girl in England who hung herself because she's relentlessly bullied on Facebook, and then it gets even worse after that happened. Her sister and her father are also targeted on Facebook by the same people. So it's weird because you said that, you said the term psychopaths, right? Less than one percent of the population are psychopaths. And so just very, very briefly, all the things I said before, impulsive, aggressive, don't care about other people, lack of empathy, lack of remorse, quite charming, quite manipulative. But oddly, I think that — how I put this? I don't think everyone who's an Internet troll is a psychopath, just statistically it doesn't make sense.
[01:09:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:09:44] Dr. Sohom Das: But I think if they have some of the traits that amplified with that anonymity, so the average Internet troll wouldn't have the balls to go up to somebody they don't know and insult them to their face. But because they have this distance, not just physical location, but also sometimes temporal location, so they might make a comment and know that the target's not going to read it for hours or maybe even days. I think it kind of gives them this kind of, it's almost false courage. So it amplifies those character traits of the psychopath.
[01:10:11] Jordan Harbinger: That does make sense. There's a lot of entitlement, or you came up with this term, I think, in a video toxic disinhibition where they're anonymous, they can get away with it. There's no consequences. So it's like, "Well, I'm removed from this person in time and distance. I'm never going to see them. I'm never going to suffer the consequences. Maybe I'll tweet this horrible thing from this anonymous account or post this YouTube thing about whatever, and just never think about it again." Like it's almost, I would assume it's cathartic in some ways for these people to do that.
[01:10:37] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah, and also it gives them a sense of identity and purpose. So a lot of the times, not always, but a lot of the times these Internet trolls are a bit like the incels we're talking about, they're marginalized, they're isolated. They don't have a social circle. They don't have friends. Whereas when their persona on a keyboard makes them popular because other people kind of jump on the bandwagon. We were talking off air about all these, you know, Internet celebrities that say these really horrible, toxic things. We were wondering about how much of it is actually what they truly believe and how much of it is just doing it for attention. And I think attention, narcissism is a huge, huge part of it. People with fragile ego who were possibly bullied themselves or at least kind of ignored by their peers when they were children, they like to get their own sort of revenge back at those bullies by targeting even more vulnerable people on the Internet.
[01:11:21] Jordan Harbinger: Do you only get to see the terrible cases? I would assume you're so busy that if somebody leaves your care, goes on to lead a productive, happy life, you probably just never hear about that or hear from them ever again, right?
[01:11:33] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. Yeah, that's one of the cons of working as a forensic psychiatrist. There's not much customer satisfaction, let's put it that way, because if patients actually get better, then they tend to be discharged to lower levels of psychiatric health. So if we are following somebody who's quite, potentially quite violent in the community, who's got a long history of mental illness and violence, we follow them up for like a year. And if they're stable for a year, which is, you know, good news for everyone involved, then they go to general adult psychiatry services. So we don't hear about the success stories.
[01:12:01] Jordan Harbinger: Man, we got to have you back because I want to hear about drug-induced psychosis, shared psychosis, somatization. I have all these other notes here that we don't have time for, so we'll have to have you back. I want to talk about some famous cases that are maybe even currently ongoing and see what your analysis is as well.
[01:12:23] I want to wrap with this. You have kids too. Doesn't it scare you that some of these more dangerous people even exist? In your book and on one of your videos you told me about this guy who threw a random six-year-old kid off a balcony in a shopping mall for just no reason. And that sh*t stuck with me for weeks, dude, because I've got a toddler and I've got a baby and I'm like, oh my god. I was at the Lego store the other day on the second floor of the mall. What if someone just comes up and throws them over the railing? I mean, it's absolutely a nightmare to think that there's people like that out there at all.
[01:12:54] Dr. Sohom Das: Honest answer, Jordan, is that it doesn't bother me. It doesn't scare me because I know how rare it is.
[01:13:00] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:13:00] Dr. Sohom Das: But I actually did an assessment yesterday in a solicitor's office. It was a victim of somebody who'd been sexually abused by a scoutmaster decades ago. He's like in his fifties now. And he was telling me about his life and it was just horrible. Like even before the abuse started, he was one of eight children and his older brothers used to pick on him because he was just slightly camp. He wasn't gay, but he was quite camp.
[01:13:23] Jordan Harbinger: Camp? I never heard.
[01:13:24] Dr. Sohom Das: Camp is, how do I put this in a PC manner, is somebody who is quite effeminate in their interactions.
[01:13:30] Jordan Harbinger: Got it. Okay. So his brothers were just like, "Ha-ha, you're gay," as kids do when their kids.
[01:13:35] Dr. Sohom Das: Yeah. Yeah. But they would physically beat him up on a regular basis and his father used to encourage it as well.
[01:13:41] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[01:13:41] Dr. Sohom Das: So his father just took an instant dislike to him. There's even rumors that his father wasn't his real father, but that's a whole different story. And he was telling me this story, and I was writing my notes yesterday, when I was writing this report up, and I obviously didn't say this to him, but I do remember thinking, you know, I've got two boys, and I just, I would never intentionally hurt their feelings, let alone, you know, encourage violence against them or make fun of them. I couldn't fathom doing something that would hurt their feelings on purpose.
[01:14:03] And so I guess my answer to your question is it's not the random murderers, who would, you know, abduct a child or throw them off. More than what affects me is hearing the stories of people, especially when they were kids, being picked on and bullied by other kids and even their own family members. That really affects me because it's just so cruel. Like there's no understandable reason for that behavior. I just can't get my head around it.
[01:14:22] We talk about someone like Yasmin, and even though what she did was devastating, I can understand why she did what she did, but I can't understand why an adult would hurt a child.
[01:14:30] Jordan Harbinger: Sohom, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. I'm looking forward to the next time. I really appreciate it. Super interesting look inside the dark side of the human mind in many ways. And, yeah, I'm looking forward to dissecting some actual cases that we see in the news. And I'm so curious what you think. We can't really talk about a lot of this in the United States with a doctor in the United States because they have to be very, very careful about that, but you're in the UK so we're off the hook, right? You don't mind, you don't mind a little flack, little heat. So I appreciate that. Thank you once again for coming on the show, man.
[01:15:03] Dr. Sohom Das: Jordan, it has been an absolute pleasure, a big fan of your podcast, and thank you for asking interesting questions. I do a lot of interviews and sometimes you get the dull routine things, but you really pushed my cognitive ability, so thank you for that.
[01:15:16] Jordan Harbinger: We've got a preview trailer of our interview with Dr. James Fallon on how psychopaths' brains function differently from the rest of us and why psychopaths thrive in modern society.
[01:15:27] James Fallon: I'm a neuroscientist since about 1989. I've studied the brain imaging scans of killers, serial killers, really bad murders. I did a case one or two a year for many years. And then in 2005, 2006, I got sent a ton of them and I analyzed them. I said, oh my god, there's a pattern. So I saw this pattern that nobody had ever described, but at the same time, we were doing a clinical study on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease, and we had all the Alzheimer's patients we needed, so we needed normals, just normal controls.
[01:15:59] And so I asked my family, that was kind of my first mistake. I said, "Look, guys, you want to all get in?" I have my brothers, my wife. I said, "We'll test you." And the idea of being that on my side of the family, there was no Alzheimer's at all. So we did it and the two technicians walked into my office and on my right side, I pile all these murders' brain scans, and they handed me, a pile of my family scans, and they were covered up. So I couldn't. Of the names. And so I went through, I went through one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. I was really relieved that they looked at the first pass, normal.
[01:16:31] And then, I got to the last scan and looked at it. I said, "Okay guys." They said, "This is very funny." "You kid around with each other, right?" And I said, "Okay, you switched it. You took one of the worst psychopaths from this pile of murders. And he switched it into my family, ha-ha. And they go, "No, it's part of your family." I said, "You've got to be kidding." I said, "This guy shouldn't be walking around in open society. He's probably a very dangerous person." So I had to tear back the covering on the name of it. And there was my name.
[01:17:03] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Dr. James Fallon, including how to spot a psychopath in the wild, check out episode 28 here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:17:13] So interesting, we definitely have to have Sohom back here. His YouTube breaks down true crime cases by going into the minds of the criminals, and he'll say, this person looks like they've got narcissistic personality disorder based on da, da, da da. Really interesting stuff. We'll link to that in the show notes. I think we're going to have him back on to discuss some current cases that we're seeing here in the news. Unfortunately, there's just no shortage of those. I mean, this guy could make YouTube videos for a hundred years. I mean, we will absolutely never run out of creepy criminals in the news.
[01:17:43] By the way, I just took a flight back from North Africa. And just, what mental illness is it that makes people go to the bathroom on an airplane only wearing socks? That's the disorder I want to see diagnosed. It's the most disgusting thing I've seen in years. You cannot come into my house if that's you. I don't want to know you. You'd have to douse your feet in gasoline and light them on freaking fire, and maybe I will let you in. I'd rather have your oozing bloody stumps on my floor than the piss-soaked and God knows what else soaked feet after you walk into an airplane bathroom wearing only socks. I'm not sure how I got on this subject, but geez, if that's you, you should reevaluate all of your life choices. Just saying.
[01:18:22] Anyway, links to Sohom stuff will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes, videos up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, all the things that support the show, those are going to be at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to say something, hopefully, something nice.
[01:18:43] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems, software, and tiny habits. The same stuff I do every single. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. That course is free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I want you to dig the well before you get thirsty. Create relationships before you need them. Many of the guests on the show subscribe to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[01:19:05] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi, all of who know better than to walk into an airplane bathroom wearing only socks, at least, that was the first question at the job interview. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's really into psychology or criminal justice or true crime, definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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