Insanity Argumentative Analysis

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Although, using the insanity defense is questionable and poses a public safety risk, some critics would advocate for the use of the plea on behalf of those with mental illnesses. It is believed that the defense is “largely misunderstood” and feared by the public. Critics believe that individuals with mental illness should be able to plead insanity for reasons such as: (1) their illness can be caused by genes that they are born with, therefore they cannot help but act in the manner that they do, and (2) individuals who are ill are thought to be physically different than those who do not have mental illnesses; they are not able to access all emotions such as guilt, empathy or remorse. This can result in violent behavior that is at no fault of…show more content…
Also, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in the early 1990’s, the defense is only used approximately one percent of the time and a quarter of those who use the defense have argued the defense properly to be found not guilty (Olin, 2009). This is only a small fraction of the population. In the article “Inside A Psychopaths Brain: The Sentencing Debate” by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, it was said that “the reason [individuals with violent behaviors] cannot access their emotions is that their physical brains are different.” This would mean that an individual prone to violent tendencies has a brain that reacts differently than that of the average person, which in turn warrant them to use the insanity defense and/or be held unaccountable for their actions. To refute, there have been many instances have shown that a great deal of the population exhibits violent or psychopathic tendencies, but they do not exhibit violent behavior at any point…show more content…
However, punishing those with mental illness in the same fashion as those whom know of the wrongfulness of their crimes is unfair. It would be beneficial for society and for the health of those with mental illnesses to be found guilty of the crimes they have committed but to be treated separately from other individuals without mental illnesses. Not allowing the use of the insanity plea would eliminate many unfair tactics used by lawyers when defending their clients as well as eliminating any uncertainty in determining one’s mental culpability. In lieu of the plea, courts who provide proper treatment to individuals who are deemed insane would allow for the public to retain a sense of safety and trust in the judicial system. Mentally ill individuals should not automatically be granted use of the insanity plea unless they undergo examination by mental health professionals on both the prosecuting and defending sides. The mentally ill, if convicted for their crime(s) should also receive proper medical treatment for their particular condition until they are cleared by mental health professionals. The current use of the insanity plea will only pose future problems for the country and its citizens; by not allowing individuals to use the plea, unless in extreme circumstances, most

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