Next Weeks Class is the Last Class
Mental Health and the Law
• 80-90% of the prison population could probably diagnosed with some of the personality disorders
(anti-social personality disorder)
Fit to Stand Trial
• Fit to stand trial: who do not understand what is happening to them in a court room and cannot
participate in their own defense
• Idea of malingering*(EXAM): portray insanity: try to look crazy. Almost any personality
inventories used with the forensic population have subscales designed to detect malingering.
Typically look for extreme responses (answering “all the time” response often).
Critical judgements that mental-health professional are asked to make about people accused of crimes
• Courts tend to prefer forensic psychiatrists for these scenarios although often a forensic psychologist
would be called as an expert witness
• “sane” more of a legal terminology not a medical or psychological term. You cannot communicate a
diagnosis of insanity. It doesn’t exist.
• NCR not criminally responsible
• Inability to reality test (cannot differentiate between reality and delusions or hallucinations or
• Insanity defense not used too often. Criteria to use it effectively are fairly stringent.
• Usually the judge would determine a psychiatric evaluation should be done
• 85% determined NCR are sent to mental hospitals (question of insight, severity of illness, type of
crime committed etc)
• Tools for predicting who will do what are mediocre at best (similar to suicide)
• 1 in 100 file insanity pleas and only 26% result in acquittal (not as wide spread as you would think)
Comparison of Public Perceptions of the Insanity Defense
• Take home for exam: there is a difference between what actually happens and the public perception
of what happens
Insanity Defense Rules *(EXAM) • Exam question he would give us some language (i.e. the term) and state which of the following
statement is most consistent with this term:
• M’Naghten Rule
• Irresistible Impulse Rule
• Durham Rule
• ALI rule
• APA definition
• Guilty but Mentally Ill: a bit of a law and order (tough on crime) evolved to appease the law and
order group who think the mental illness is besides the fact –must still pay for what they did.
o Decisions made an unconscious level so it’s problematic in these scenarios. The science of
decision making and consciousness really comes into play here.
• Battered woman syndrome: women who have been chronically and severely abused are acting in a
self defense manner and has become a legally accepted entity. Doesn’t exist in the DSM but it does
exist as a legal entity or concept.
• Putting people in an institution involuntarily (against their will)
• Since then the need for treatment alone