skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 135572 Find in a Library
Title: Insane Criminals and the Criminally Insane: A Persistent Problem for Psychiatry, Law, and Society (From Correctional Psychiatry, P 3-16, 1989, Richard Rosner and Ronnie B Harmon, eds. -- See NCJ-135571)
Author(s): J M Quen
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reviews the categories of the insane criminal and the criminally insane; the import of that distinction; and the substantial difficulties for psychiatry, law, and society in distinguishing between these two groups.
Abstract: The "insane criminal" is a person who has become insane after the commission of a crime for which the person has been found guilty or for whom insanity is not sufficiently integral to the offense to yield a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. The "criminally insane" person has been judged by a court or appropriate State officials to be not guilty of a crime because the harmful behavior stemmed from mental illness. The "insane criminal" is under sentence for a crime, and all mental health services rendered must take this into account. The health care services must be either rendered in the prison context or in secure facilities outside the prison. The latter approach poses significant problems. Modern mental health professionals also recommend against mixing noncriminal mentally ill persons with mentally ill criminals. A number of States have built mental health facilities specifically for insane criminals. The criminally insane are legally not criminals and are not under a sentence. Their commitment to a mental hospital is done under civil procedures. Their behavior, however, may still pose a threat to themselves and others. Although not legally criminals, they may behave like criminals. This poses special problems for housing and managing the criminally insane. 22 references
Main Term(s): Mentally ill offenders
Index Term(s): Mental illness-crime relationships; Offender mental health services; Traffic courts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.