preview

Mens Rea Essay

What makes a crime a crime would some ones responsibility level be different if there mental state isn’t stable? In most cases the person committing a crime intended to do something that the state legislature or Congress has stated that it is wrong."mens rea" is a concept is based on a belief that people should be punished only when they have acted in a way that makes them morally blameworthy. In the legal system people who purposely take part in the behavior that is prohibited by a law are responsible. "Ordinary" negligence is not a crime. For example, careless drivers are not usually unlawfully prosecuted if they cause an accident, they may have to pay civil costs to those harmed by their reach less behavior.
Sometimes carelessness can amount to mens rea. Most of the time carelessness can be a crime when a person "recklessly disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk." It is up to the judge and juries to evaluate a person's actions and decide whether the carelessness is serious enough to fall under mens rea. But people who accidentally commit illegal conduct may be morally innocent. Someone who breaks the law because he or she honestly mis interprets reality lacks “mens rea” and should not be charged with or convicted of a crime. For example, if person A hits person B because the person reasonably but mistakenly thought person B was about to hit him, person A would not have mens rea.
While a "mistake of fact" can negate mens rea, a "mistake of law" usually can’t. When people do not realize what they are doing is illegal but still do it intentionally, they are almost always guilty. For example, if Person A sells cocaine believing that it is sugar, person A has made a mistake of fact and lacks mens rea. However, if person A ...

... middle of paper ...

... they are too jumbled to follow the many rules enforced by correctional facilities and, as a result, are more likely to be housed in solitary confinement: Numerous studies suggest further that “many offenders with serious mental illnesses cannot tolerate the severe conditions of solitary confinement and are particularly likely to experience mental and physical deterioration.“

These experiences--the trauma of physical and sexual victimization and conditions of self-contained detention, either alone or in combination--may aggravate inmates’ psychiatric symptoms or even precipitate the onset of new mental disorders. Inadequate mental health treatment available in many prisons and especially in solitary housing units compounds this psychiatric deterioration. Not shockingly, offenders with major mental illnesses are mostly prone to commit suicide while incarcerated.
Get Access