View Poll Results: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

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  • Yes

    26 30.95%
  • Absolutely not

    8 9.52%
  • Maybe, depends on the mental illness

    50 59.52%
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Thread: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

  1. #31
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Absolutely it should. Our justice system is premised on the idea that we not only punish behavior but that we punish culpability.
    A person who knowingly, deliberately and intentionally commits a crime should be treated differently than a person who commits a offense but without the same knowingly, delieberately and intentional mindset. That is not to say that the behavior cannot be punished, it is a question of culpability.

    We treat children differently because they are not expected to have the same capacity to form intent and the same maturity to rationally think about their conduct. The same is true of the mentally retarded. That same belief extends to the criminally insane and the mentally ill.
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Mentally ill offenders ought to be punished differently. I've seen some offenders be so mentally disorganized that they are not able to keep appointments with probation and parole and end up reincarcerated. They need alot of help to comply with the letter of the law in probation and parole. Showing up for a court ordered drug test, for example.

    It's not fair. I'm talking about offenders with serious mental health diagnoses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder etc.

    I was a case manager for a MIOCR program. MIOCR stands for mentally ill offender crime reduction. All of my clients were dual diagnosis--mentally ill addicts. I know what I'm talking about because I coached these folks and without a lot of help they would have failed and been back in jail or prison in a heartbeat.

    For the mentally ill, some of what is 'normal' prison procedure is 'cruel and unusual punishment' for them. It's not fair and I doubt it will change much. Public opinion allows very little sympathy for criminals and is quite cynical about mental illness.
    Last edited by windovervocalcords; 12-30-09 at 01:26 PM.

  3. #33
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    Even with manslaughter someone is still found guilty of manslaughter and punished. With first degree murder someone is still found guilty of 1st degree murder and punished. The insanity BS basically lets someone off the hook even though they did do the crime, sure they may go to a hospital/nuthouse but it is not a punishment.
    Not quite, there may be a sketchy incident where a percieved threat was presented, say, an abused spouse, an immenent physical threat to person, or even threatening someone's loved one's. In any one of the above instances any reasonable person could be expected to "black out" and use extreme force to end the threat presented, it could still be a manslaughter/murder charge and either way would be a homicide, however, the evidence may not be strong enough for a self defense aquittal, in that case, an temporary insanity plea would be more than acceptable and a very mild probation could be applicable. Other than that, there are instances of severe mental illness that could easily qualify. As others have said, it's about intent moreso than the actual result.
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by windovervocalcords View Post
    Mentally ill offenders ought to be punished differently. I've seen some offenders be so mentally disorganized that they are not able to keep appointments with probation and parole and end up reincarcerated. They need alot of help to comply with the letter of the law in probation and parole. Showing up for a court ordered drug test, for example.

    It's not fair. I'm talking about offenders with serious mental health diagnoses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder etc.

    I was a case manager for a MIOCR program. MIOCR stands for mentally ill offender crime reduction. All of my clients were dual diagnosis--mentally ill addicts. I know what I'm talking about because I coached these folks and without a lot of help they would have failed and been back in jail or prison in a heartbeat.

    For the mentally ill, some of what is 'normal' prison procedure is 'cruel and unusual punishment' for them. It's not fair and I doubt it will change much. Public opinion allows very little sympathy for criminals and is quite cynical about mental illness.
    My aunt has two grandchildren with problems, one is severly autistic and the other has a mild schizophrenia, in the latter case, he should be okay with meds, but it will be a lifetime battle, in the former case only special care will help, the one with autism is barely functional. It breaks our hearts but these are the cards we were dealt, I would hate to see a court system that would hold either one accountable at a full level when neither is exactly a criminal in the sense that they don't have malicious intent, and that they could have a mental break under certain circumstances.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    I say no. It doesn't change the fact that person committed the crime. Justice and the victims should not be ignored just because some quack deems the criminal insane.
    Do we have excessive "quacks" in our society?
    I think so, judging from this and other forums.

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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by earthworm View Post
    Do we have excessive "quacks" in our society?
    I think so, judging from this and other forums.
    Ain't necessarily so.... let's look at it from the stand point of the innocent person that is injured or killed by a "mentally ill" person. where is the justice for them, and where is the guarantee that this "mentally ill" person will never harm another?

    What would be your reaction if a loved one was killed by a person that had killed before, been cured, and then released to kill your Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Wife, Husband, etc.?
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by earthworm View Post
    Do we have excessive "quacks" in our society?
    I think so, judging from this and other forums.
    but now that you are here to share your wisdom, I feel certain the intelligence level will rise in leaps and bounds.
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Yes it should.

    Today we have access to the workings of the human mind. Using this to help someone who is not necessarily a criminal is a good thing.

    I am not saying use it as a crutch, I am saying it should be a factor in punishment and a possible reinsertion into society.
    Last edited by Black Dog; 12-30-09 at 05:54 PM.
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  9. #39
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    If a chimpanzee kills a person we aren't going to punish them for life. Why should we do it to a human who happens to have the mind of a chimpanzee?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Any justice system that claims to be civilized must ascertain the intentions of the criminal when proceeding with a case. If your intentions are based on an uncontrolled hallucination, a psychotic delusion that is naturally occurring in your mind, or any mental factor beyond your control which severely limits your function and rational mind, then that must certainly be taken into account when rendering a verdict.
    I disagree with this part. You can never know a person's intentions. This is why I am against hate crime legislation and the like. You can prove pre-meditation if there is evidence of planning. You can also, to a certain extent, find out if a person's brain is working correctly or not. But the reason behind a crime can never truly be known.
    Last edited by Tsunami; 12-31-09 at 10:32 AM.
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    Re: Should a criminal's mental illness have an impact on how he or she is punished?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsunami View Post
    If a chimpanzee kills a person we aren't going to punish them for life. Why should we do it to a human who happens to have the mind of a chimpanzee?


    I disagree with this part. You can never know a person's intentions. This is why I am against hate crime legislation and the like. You can prove pre-meditation if there is evidence of planning. You can also, to a certain extent, find out if a person's brain is working correctly or not. But the reason behind a crime can never truly be known.
    I think the chimpanzee would be destroyed.....

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