Forensic Psychology

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1.How often is the insanity defense used and how successful is it?

I would like to answer this question, with the presentation of my opinion and the performed research. It is within my opinion, that the insanity defense is used over excessively and is taking part in almost every defense to any crime. Offenders seem to have the knowledge to the use of this defense and will often provide a plea to guilty by insanity or temporary insanity, within the faith, to receive a reduced sentence.

While insanity has to be a proven fact and a psychologist has to conduct a variety of tests to confirm the offender is suffering from a mental incompetence or insanity, most offenders have the ability to mislead or deceive psychologists to receive the evaluation they seek.

Such action, if discovered, would actually prove the sanity of such offenders, but in most cases, it cannot be ascertained. The success of such defense is, within my view, very effective.

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The performed research is revealing a different answer. According to the St. Joseph News Press (2007), it has stated the opposite to my opinion. This article within a study of the national mental health institute claim’s; “the insanity defense plea is used in less than one (1) percent of criminal cases in the United States and less than a quarter of those pleas are successful”. Retrieved from; St. Joseph News Press (2007). With these opinions and views in combination, one would have to conduct further studies on this subject, to establish the correct answer.

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Everyone has different sentiments, within the use of the insanity defense and the successfulness of such validation.

2. Identify and discuss the major criticisms of the insanity defense. It is my belive,the major criticism of the insanity defense could be the establishment of prove to the claim of insanity. More often, offenders will try to make use of this defense for the hope of receiving a reduced sentence or the sentence to receive institutional care. According to my research, there are three (3) major criticisms within the insanity defense.

The Insanity defense is mentioned as confusing to the psychiatric and legal concept. Furthermore, it is explained that the word “insane” is more of a legal word, then a medical term, and therefor to prove a person or a criminal insane, one must find the mental condition, of a criminal, severely impaired to the point of losing one’s free will. A psychiatrist may be or may not able to determine such illness, and a jury’s decision solely based on a psychiatrists’ opinion may be grounded on unreliable evidence. Retrieved from; West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2 (2008). 2. This criticism is on the moral basis and the consequences. This section suggests that the crime is of more importance, then the moral imperatives. It also addresses the way a criminal, who does plea insanity, should be trialed and punished for the crime.

It is suggested, that the criminal should be convicted and the mental illness should be taken in consideration at the time of sentencing. If this method would be used by the court, it would allow the judge to determine the length of imprisonment, within a hospital prison, and the defendant would have to provide prove of improvement to the once dangerous behavior. Retrieved from; West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2 (2008).

3. This last criticism, is turned to the rich and wealthy criminals, who make use of the insanity plea. It is argued; “only wealthy defendant have the ability to retain a high-priced psychiatrist, who may be able to declare the defendant insane with the performed examination”. It also is believed, people who have less monetary funds and depend on the defense of a public defender, will not receive the same quality of defense, and they are also unable to receive the same value within the insanity exam. Such critic is based on the suggestion, that the insanity defense should be eliminated. Retrieved from; West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2 (2008).

3. When a mentally ill person is convicted and incarcerated, what are some of the difficulties in providing appropriate psychological treatment for these offenders? The difficulties in providing appropriate care, to a incarcerated mentally ill person, would stand to the inappropriate care and knowledge of the staff or facility personnel, to the condition of the mentally ill. A prison or jail is not equipped nor can such establishment provide the correct treatment to the mentally ill. To take in consideration the staff and the special medical treatment such person would require, every day, while in such confinement.

But the alternative to this problem is stated in: Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System, 6e,(2011) in which it is proposed; “When defendants are found incompetent to stand trial, they can be committed for a period of treatment designed to restore their competence”. And also; “for dealing with the unrestorably incompetent criminal defendant include her or his waiving the right to be found incompetent to proceed to trial and using a special form of commitment for incompetent defendants who are judged at a provisional trial to be guilty of the crimes with which they are charged“. Retrieved from; Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System, 6e, pg; 249 (2011). It is my believe, the above suggested method, would be the better approach to the incarceration of incompetent or the mentally ill offenders.

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Forensic Psychology. (2017, Jan 24). Retrieved from

Forensic Psychology

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