From a reader:
One common theme in comments on your site seems to be "only the stupid sociopaths get locked up, they give us a bad name, if they were better at being rational/smart they wouldn't be ending up in prison." Of course as someone who has a handful of arrests I can't help but take this a little personally so I'll do my best to explain why I disagree with the position.(cont.)
I was a criminal sociopath. I was the kind of criminal who was there for fun. To this day I haven't yet found anything that compares to the fun I had then. Any crimes before I was 16 were boring - I'd get in fights but mostly I had to actively convince another kid to fight with me under the pretense it was just a game (to me it was.. I couldn't get why they didn't enjoy it) and then when they were injured I had to work to convince them not to tell anyone what had happened to them so I wouldn't get in trouble.
When I was 16 I decided with a friend to burglarize a business. Basically I got off work, went to where she was working and while chatting with her mentioned I'd figured out how to get into a local store and into their safe. She said "So lets do it" so when she got off work we went back to my house, got together what we'd wear (there were cameras so heavy jackets and ski-masks), we went to sleep, woke up at 4am and walked downtown to do it. I should add here that I didn't do it for the money, I had several thousand dollars in my bank account and still lived at home having graduated high school before turning 16 and working.
Long story short we got away with it beautifully - for about 7 days. Then the only other person in the world who knew ratted on us. This was my first lesson in how weak most people are and one of many cases where I've been surprised someone did something that seemed completely illogical to me. In the meantime though my friend and I rented expensive motel rooms and bought new cloths instead of going home or washing what we had. Experiences that made the whole thing worth it include sitting with my friend on the hotel bed counting thousands of dollars in cash in our robes, finding a crazy alcoholic homeless woman and her 12yo daughter and having them follow us around buying us alcohol, and walking out of the store we had robbed pulling our skimasks up into hats so the cameras never got a shot of our faces, and then casually walking down a major street downtown to go change clothes at the bus station.
Having no priors and being a minor I never even went to Juvi - after all, I was the nice white kid from the middle class family who had made a horrible mistake and was oh so repentant.