Minding Justice: Laws that Deprive People With Mental Disability of Life and Liberty
Vanderbilt University - Law School
Harvard University Press
The primary goal of this book is to advance new ways of thinking about laws that society uses to deprive people with mental disability of life and liberty, organized around three models of liberty deprivation: the punishment model, the prevention model, and the protection model. With respect to the punishment model, it argues for a complete revamping of the insanity defense, the abolition of the guilty but mentally ill verdict, and a prohibition on executing people with mental disability. In connection with the prevention model, it proposes a jurisprudence of dangerousness that would have significant implications for sex offenders and all other individuals subject to police power commitment, including terrorists. Finally, with respect to the protection model, it contends that the notion of incompetency needs rethinking, and suggests reforms that would change the law concerning the right to refuse treatment, competency to stand trial, and how courts deal with criminal defendants who disagree with their attorneys.
As this brief listing indicates, the principles developed in this book apply not just to people with mental disability but to anyone subject to the criminal law, preventive detention, and involuntary treatment. This leads to the ironic meaning of the title Minding Justice. More so than in any other area of legal regulation, including matters having to do with race and gender, modern society has been unwilling to treat people with mental illness in a just manner; it has truly minded even thinking about their problems. In describing laws that deprive them of life and liberty, and in prescribing reforms of those laws, this book ultimately concludes that people with mental disability should generally be treated no differently than people who are not so labeled, a conclusion that stems in no small part from a desire to destigmatize this maltreated segment of society.
The second half of the first chapter can be found at the link above. Comments on the book include:
With penetrating analysis and startling originality, Slobogin examines the underpinnings of mental health law, cutting across both criminal and civil domains, to propose a provocative restructuring of legal doctrine. This extremely well-written book is a superb example of interdisciplinary scholarship, combining philosophical, legal, and clinical insights in a new synthesis. Bruce J. Winick, Unviersity of Miami.
Slobogin's book is a tour de force on issues concerning interventions into the lives of those with mental illness. Elyn Saks, University of Southern California.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: Mental disability, preventive detention, punishment, death penalty, competency to stand trial, insanity defense, Andrea YatesAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 5, 2006
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