Insanity and the Law: Various Rules Regarding the Insanity Defense and Which Rule for Judging Legal Insanity is Most Useful Today. Lisa E. Thomason
ITT Technical Institute, Criminology
The various rules used for determining insanity are the M’Naghten, the Irresistible Impulse Test, the Durham rule, substantial-capacity test, Brawner rule, and the guilty but mentally ill (GBMI) rule. They range from completely mentally incapacitated to mentally ill but can possible be treated with psychiatric treatment. Even though the courts still use all of the above rules, I find the GBMI rule to be the most useful. My theory behind this is that during a trial the defendant will usually say what they think the courts want to hear. During this process I don’t believe there is enough time to conduct a full psychological exam. A lot of times with a mental illness you need to be medicated as well as monitored closely. By using the GBMI rule the person who committed the crime in question is not let off, they are offered help and treatment, and when they are found mentally sound and stable they are still required to serve a sentence for what they did. By giving them treatment before they are required to serve their sentence, it gives us research opportunities, and saves money long term for the fact that they will be able to live in regular population. It also assures that the individual will no longer be a threat to society. The GBMI does have its disadvantages. The defendant if found mentally insane could be acquitted of all charges, and after serving the required time in a psychological rehabilitation if re-evaluated and found cured they could be released back into society. Either way the individual will have been thoroughly examined and properly medicated.