Abstract The current study explored characteristics of psychiatric prison inmates who claim amnesia for their crimes. More specifically, we examined differences in intelligence, psychopathology, executive functions, and malingering tendencies between psychiatric prison inmates who claimed amnesia ( n=17) and those who did not ( n=45). Findings indicate that lowered levels of intelligence and relatively poor performance on executive (i.e. frontal lobe) tasks accompany claims of amnesia. As well, those who claimed amnesia displayed heightened scores on an instrument intending to measure malingering. This pattern supports the view that such claims must be treated with scepticism.