Pros and Cons of the Insanity Plea

Topics: Insanity defense, Mental disorder, Crime Pages: 3 (1171 words) Published: April 10, 2012
Insane Insanity Plea
The option to utilize the insanity defense in court should be supported because it is needed to acquit those individuals who had no control over their actions due to a physical ailment, to put a mentally ill patient in with the general prison population would be unconstitutional, and those who are mentally insane need special services for rehabilitation. The insanity defense should be available to those who had no control of their actions due to a physical illness. “D wounded a female neighbor friend whilst sleepwalking. They had been watching videos and she fell asleep on the sofa, he hit her with a bottle and a video recorder and grabbed her round the throat. He was sleepwalking at the time” (Harrison). This man was found to be not guilty by reason of insanity. The fact that the man had no intent or control should excuse him from his crimes, as the insanity defense has been set up to do. Putting a mentally ill patient into a prison would be unconstitutional. To punish individuals for crimes they didn’t know they have committed would be cruel and unusual punishment. To qualify for legal mental insanity, a person must have had no control and/or knowledge of what they have done is wrong. To convict these individuals would go against the very principle our nation is based on. As a society, we do not convict young children or mentally challenged persons due to the fact that one cannot be guilty of a crime they didn’t know they have committed. To convict the mentally ill would contradict our nation’s precedents. Those who are insane need alternate forms of rehabilitation, different from the average prison population. “A mentally ill prisoner “responded to the stress [of hearing another prisoner’s murder] by cutting himself, and was subsequently given a disciplinary report and placed in an isolation cell for ‘destruction of state property” (Grachek). This prisoner was not provided the appropriate response for his mental illness due to...

Cited: Dietrich, Tamara. "Crazed Killers? Convict Away." Daily Press. Daily Press Media Group, 11 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. .
Grachek, Julie E. "The Insanity Defense in the Twenty-First Century: How Recent United States Supreme Court Case Law Can Improve the System." Indiana Law. Indiana University, 2006. Web. 6 Mar. 2012. .
Harrison, Antoine P. "Cases-Defenses-Insanity." Sixth Form Law. The Hunger Site, 2000. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. .
"Megan 's Law." NJ.org. Web. 07 Mar. 2012. .
Seligman, Katherine. "LEGAL AFFAIRS: The Insanity Defense The Insanity Defense." Www.SFGate.com. San Francisco Chronicle, 24 June 2011. Web. 6 Mar. 2012. .
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