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NCJ Number: 135559 Find in a Library
Title: American Psychiatric Association Insanity Rule: A Metaphysical Subtlety (From Criminal Court Consultation, P 93-110, 1989, Richard Rosner, Ronnie B Harmon, eds. -- See NCJ-135552)
Author(s): A L Halpern
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the insanity defense critiques the American Psychiatric Association's position on the subject and argues that the insanity defense hinders rational approaches to the handling of mentally disordered offender.
Abstract: The use of the insanity plea does not raise the law's moral character. Instead, it makes a mockery of the criminal justice system, harms the population it is intended to benefit, undermines the processes of the law, undermines the public's sense of justice, and results in the involuntary institutionalization of many people who are not mentally ill and may not ever have been mentally ill. In addition, the insanity defense fosters the extensive and systematic abuse of psychiatry. A more appropriate alternative to the exculpatory insanity rule would be to abolish the insanity defense and replace it with a provision for acquittal when the defendant, as a result of mental illness, lacked the state of mind required as an element of the offense charged. Such a law should require presentation of psychiatric and psychological testimony when appropriate, comprehensive presentence evaluation, the application of regular civil commitment laws, and sentencing based on a balancing of community needs for protection and retribution and the offender's need for treatment and rehabilitation. 89 references
Main Term(s): Insanity defense
Index Term(s): American Psychiatric Association; Criminal intent; Diminished capacity defense; Forensic psychiatry; Guilty but mentally ill
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