Mental Illness And The Law Essay Sample
People with mental illness are protected with certain rights just like normal people. These rights include treatment with respect and dignity, protection of privacy, having treatment options and alternatives, care recipient that does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or type of illness. These rights do not end there. They can also be saved from a punishment of a crime even if brought to trial (“Insanity”, n.d.).
Insanity, a legal term, is a mental illness in which a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality and has an uncontrollable impulsive behavior. In a criminal case, if the defendant is said to be mentally incompetent to stand the trial, he or she will be examined by psychiatrist in a medical facility (“Insanity Defense”, n.d.). Since “irresistible impulse” has been removed from the definition of insanity in some federal cases and states, only a small portion of those cases of insanity pleas are successful. Pleading “reason of insanity” means pleading “not guilty”. According to Cornell University law School, the society believes that a person who committed a crime must be punished but at the same time, a person who is mentally challenged, must undergo a treatment. This results to the plea “not guilty by reason of insanity”. But if found guilty but mentally ill, the person must receive treatment while in prison. Also, it is more important that the defendant’s mental state is known during the time of the crime rather than proving that the person was sane (Web MD, 2015).
These insanity rules have been scrutinized in many ways. The first one is that everyone must be responsible for their own actions. Also, experts, sometimes, have different insights during the time of the crime. And, people with severe mental illness have sometimes rational thinking and can even control their behavior. This law must be amended and be more detailed.
WebMD. (2015). Rights for People with Mental Illness. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/rights-mental-illness
Insanity. Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/insanity
Insanity Defense. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/insanity_defense
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