Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice
In REFORMING CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A REPORT OF THE ACADEMY FOR JUSTICE BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN SCHOLARSHIP AND REFORM (Erik Luna ed., Academy for Justice 2018).
78 Pages Posted: 5 May 2017 Last revised: 5 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2018
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
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