Against the Insanity Defense
The insanity defense has been used for decades to justify the crimes of those individuals found to be not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). The use of the insanity defense is one that is surrounded in controversy and continues to be a problem for medical and law professionals across the nation. One major problem with the insanity defense is that insanity is a legal, not a medical definition. So how can one apply medical theory to a legal matter? Other problems associated with the insanity defense include how to actually determine mental illness, justifiable placement of those judged mentally ill, and its overall usefulness (Chiacchia 2001).
The general public also has issues with the use of the insanity defense. They feel that NGRIs result in a shorter or non-existent prison/institutionalization, that the mentally ill should not be treated like normal citizens once released, and that the insanity defense is used to escape justice (Brownfeld 1994:10). …
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