Illiterate Psychiatric Diagnoses and Their Implications for the Justice System

24 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016 Last revised: 20 Jun 2019

See all articles by Magdalena Laskowska

Magdalena Laskowska

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Date Written: July 12, 2016


Mental health law treats people with a mental disorder specially, because it is believed that such people are not capable of being guided by reason in legal situations. But are psychiatrists able to properly evaluate the issue of criminal responsibility? Is it legitimate that they force decent citizens to spend a few weeks or a few months in a closed mental hospital (which rather resembles a temporary prison) and to give her or him involuntary medication? I think that it is utterly illegitimate, immoral, and unconstitutional, and that the whole issue is totally barbaric, uncivilized, and insane, and it is based on fear, prejudices, and a lack of the exercise of any reason rather than any science and sound judgment.

Real psychiatry should rely on law. The current applied psychiatry is scientifically bankrupt. The current psychiatric ethics is also bankrupt and can be self-compromising in many cases. It is based on a potentially mentally-ill person’s accounts, her or his family’s accounts, and other people’s stories. A healthy person and a decent citizen can be condemned to a long stay in a closed hospital that resembles rather a prison and forced to take involuntary medication for a few months under the threat of physical violence (a physical incapacitation by medical personnel) – out of sickly and blind jealousy, unjustified pathological fear, political interests, and other appropriate honorable interests.

Psychiatrists limitlessly compromise themselves, and societies are not reacting. Psychiatric evidence is based on meretricious various persons’ accounts, and courts do not legally verify the claims on which the accounts are based. Obviously, it should not be the case, as such evidence determines criminal responsibility and forced medication in a closed hospital. We certainly do not live in the age of a great civilization, as the current standards are rather primitive and find themselves on the antipodes of any intellectualism. It is time for lawyers to recognize it and to institutionalize adequate legal safeguards against the violations of fundamental liberty and privacy.

My paper has the following parts: I. Introduction, II. A Legally Shocking Example of a Woman Grossly Mistreated by Medical Practitioners and the Police, III. Jurisprudence Dealing with Psychiatric Diagnoses, IV. The Insanities of the D.S.M.s, V. The Implications of the Internalization of Illiterate Psychiatric Diagnosis in the Justice System, VI. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations.

I. Introduction

The object of this paper is to contribute to the efforts made by legal reformers striving to enact laws in ord


Suggested Citation

Laskowska, Magdalena, Illiterate Psychiatric Diagnoses and Their Implications for the Justice System (July 12, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Magdalena Laskowska (Contact Author)

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231

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