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NCJ Number: 50117 Find in a Library
Title: DILEMMA OF LAW AND PSYCHIATRIC EQUITY
Journal: CORRECTIVE AND SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY AND JOURNAL OF BEHAVIOR TECHNOLOGY METHODS AND THERAPY  Volume:24  Issue:2  Dated:(1978)  Pages:77-85
Author(s): D L PECK
Corporate Author: Martin Psychiatric Research Foundation, Inc
Mid-Continent Hospital
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Martin Psychiatric Research Foundation, Inc
Olathe, KS 66061
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY OF INSANITY LAWS, THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE LEGAL AND THE MEDICAL VIEW OF INSANITY, ABUSES WHICH ARISE BECAUSE OF THIS CONFLICT, AND ALTERNATIVES FOR LEGAL AND PSYCHIATRIC JUSTICE ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: INSANITY LAWS ARE TRACED BACK TO THE 13TH CENTURY. THE MODIFICATIONS WHICH HAVE OCCURRED SINCE THEY ARE BRIEFLY REVIEWED INCLUDING THE M'NAGHTEN RULE OF 1843, THE DURHAM RULE OF 1954, AND VARIOUS STATE MENTAL HYGIENE LAWS. THE ACTUAL APPLICATION OF THESE LAWS IS DISCUSSED. THE PSYCHIATRIC EXAMINATION ORDERED IN CRIMINAL INSANITY CASES OR CASES OF INVOLUNTARY PSYCHIATRIC COMMITMENT IS CALLED A SOCIAL RITUAL, BEYOND THE SCOPE OF CURRENT PSYCHIATRIC TRAINING AND SUBJECT TO ABUSE. THE ROLE OF THE PSYCHIATRIST AS AN ADVERSARY TO THE PATIENT IS EXAMINED, PARTICULARLY IN COMMITMENT HEARINGS. FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE: (1) ABOLISHING THE DEATH PENALTY AND THE NONPAROLABLE LIFE SENTENCE, BOTH OF WHICH LEAD TO GREAT USE OF INSANITY PLEAS AND OFFER LITTLE HOPE OF REHABILITATION; (2) ABOLISHING OR MODIFYING THE INSANITY PLEA TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MOST INDIVIDUALS ARE AWARE OF THEIR ACCOUNTABILITY AND CAN PARTICIPATE IN THEIR OWN DEFENSE; (3) FORBIDDING COURTS TO DESIGNATE AN INDIVIDUAL A CRIMINAL OR DELINQUENT IF THAT PERSON HAS NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF COMMITTING A CRIME; AND (4) IMPOSING CIVIL COMMITMENTS ONLY WHEN THE PROBABILITY OF PATIENT SELF HARM OR THE HARMING OF OTHERS IS GREAT. ARGUMENTS SUPPORTING EACH RECOMMENDATION ARE BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED. NOTES DISCUSS THE VARIOUS JUDICIAL DECISIONS CITED. REFERENCES ARE APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Criminal responsibility; Insanity defense; Judicial decisions; Law reform; Laws and Statutes; Mentally ill offenders; Psychological evaluation; Reform
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50117

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