The Insanity Defense

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The insanity defense pertains that the issue of the concept of insanity which defines the extent to which a person accused of crimes may be alleviated of criminal responsibility by reason of mental disease. “The term insanity routinely attracts widespread public attention that is far out of proportion to the defense’s impact on criminal justice” (Butler,133). The decision of this defense is solely determined by the trial judge and the jury. They determine if a criminal suffers from a mental illness. The final determination of a mental disease is solely on the jury who uses evidence and information drawn from an expert witness. The result of such a determination places the individual accused, either in a mental facility, incarcerated or released from all charges. Due to the aforementioned factors, there are many problems raised by the insanity defense. Some problems would be the actual possibility of determining mental illness, justify the placement of the judged “mentally ill” offenders and the total usefulness of such a defense. In all it is believed that the insanity defense should be an invalid defense and that it is useless and should potentially be completely abolished. Insanity is a legal, not a medical definition. This makes mental illness and insanity correlate with each other, only some mental illnesses are consider as inanity. Insanity includes not only the mental, illness but also mental deficiencies. There are major problems in exactly how to apply a medical theory to legal matters. Every crime involves a physical and mental act and the non-physical cause of behavior. The mens rea is the mental element that would be required for a crime, if it is absent it excuses the criminal from criminal responsibility... ... middle of paper ... ... or by giving them written tests. Some psychiatrists call mental diseases a myth. The insanity defense would require both a mental disease and a relationship between the illness and the criminal behavior, neither of which could be scientifically proven. Of the criminals both acquitted and convicted using the insanity defense, a good number have shown conclusive evidence of recidivism. Many dangerous persons are allowed to return to the streets and many non-dangerous persons are forced into facilities due to an insanity plea adding further confusion and injustice within both the legal and medical systems. The insanity defense is impossible to maintain on the foundation of rules such as the M'Naghten Rule, and the relationship between law and psychiatry must be reinstated on a more scientific level, based on the neurological work now going on in the brain sciences.

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