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Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice

In Academy for Justice, A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform (Erik Luna ed., 2017, Forthcoming)

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-22

76 Pages Posted: 5 May 2017  

Stephen Morse

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: March 29, 2017

Abstract

This paper is a chapter that will appear in, "Academy For Justice, A Report On Scholarship And Criminal Justice Reform" (Erik Luna ed., forthcoming 2017). The criminal law treats some people with severe mental disorders doctrinally and practically differently at virtually every stage of the criminal justice process, beginning with potential incompetence to stand trial and ending with the question of competence to be executed, and such people have special needs when they are in the system. This chapter begins by exploring the fundamental mental health information necessary to make informed judgements about how the criminal justice system should respond to this population, including discussion of the causal relation between mental disorder and criminal behavior. The next section addresses the prevalence of mental disorders in jail and prisons and the mental health needs of mentally disabled inmates. The last section addresses criminal mental health law doctrines. Throughout, the chapter considers how changes could promote greater justice and humanity in the law’s treatment of criminal offenders who suffer from mental disorders.

Keywords: criminal law and procedure, psychiatry, law enforcement, corrections, sentencing, incarceration, prisoners, treatment, diagnosis, competence, responsibility, insanity, mens rea, mitigation, commitment, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards

Suggested Citation

Morse, Stephen, Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice (March 29, 2017). In Academy for Justice, A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform (Erik Luna ed., 2017, Forthcoming); U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2963646

Stephen J. Morse (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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