Research suggests that Crime and mental illness unfortunately go hand in hand. Records also show that many criminals usually have some sort of mental illness due which they end up facing repercussions from the criminal justice system at any one or multiple points in their life. However, the offences may not always be violent crimes.
When it comes to criminal activities, many people try to avoid punishment by opting for the ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ clause. This, however, causes difficulties for the court and requires psychological testing to proof the plea. It is then determined after the testing, whether a person should be admitted to a mental hospital or sentenced to jail.
Nevertheless, many people are of the opinion that similar laws should be made for both, the mentally ill as well as regular criminals. Hence, if a mentally ill person reacts violently towards an individual, their sentence time should be the same as any other person convicted of such a felony.
Insanity Defence Plea
The fitness of a person matters greatly when they stand for trial. If the mental state of the defendant is such that they cannot even be considered ‘fit to stand trial’ and cannot even understand the consequences of their actions, nature, and aim of the punishment; they will be considered unfit for the proceedings and the trial will not take place. In such situations, the court hires psychiatrists and psychologists who submit the report regarding the defendant’s mental condition.