Previous research revealed deficits in affective and impulsive regulation among delinquents, who are also likely to perceive their environment as being hostile. Likewise they tend to prefer greater distances from other people during social interactions. Distance provides freedom and safety, whereas a certain approach is necessary for engaging in communication. The present study deals with the accompanying behavioral and neural effects, especially concerning the limbic system, of interpersonal distance modulation. The sample consisted of 18 male violent offenders and 18 controls between 19 and 58 years old, who underwent an interpersonal distance task as well as a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) sequence. Perceived distance was modulated through approaching and static images of human faces, the reactions to these stimuli formed the main interest of the present investigation. In addition, psychopathy, preferred interpersonal distance and other personality traits were compiled. Delinquents did not differ from controls in their need for interpersonal distance. However approaching male faces compared with female and static ones elicited higher reactions of the insula and the hippocampus in delinquents than in controls. Approach was generally associated with enhanced activation of the left amygdala and the hippocampus, as well as the whole brain. Favoured distance towards women was smaller than towards men, female faces were also rated as less unpleasant than male ones under the approaching condition. Male faces seem to be more threatening than female ones and lead to stronger neural reactions, although this effect was not confirmed by behavioral data. Modulation of interpersonal distance was generally linked to elevated neural activity. Some evidence for a connection between psychopathy and reduced interpersonal distance has been found, but for a better understanding of these effects further examination and research are required.