The Denalty And The Death Penalty

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The death penalty is a cruel punishment meant for monstrous criminals, but what if that criminal had an illness that they were not responsible for. First, the Eighth Amendment forbids the execution of mentally retarded and juveniles, but states nothing about the mentally ill (Benza). Next, the execution of the mentally ill serves no justice for either of the families involved. Also, through the years there have been several mentally ill inmates that have been executed, and showed signs of severe mental illness years before their crime (Greenhouse). Therefore, mentally ill inmates should not receive the death penalty, because the affects of the illness are uncontrollable and the death penalty brings no fairness to either of the families involved in the case. The legal system has a broad definition of exactly what mental illness is, “inmates who are…so out of touch with reality that they do not know right from wrong…”(Mental Illness). Next, the legal system uses the “awareness test” to decide whether or not an inmate is mentally ill. It includes determining if the inmate understand why they are being persecuted, did the inmate have criminal intent, and if the inmate was able to control their behavior. Although many opponents believe the “awareness test” to be “subjected, biased, and even ludicrous.” Also, the severity of the mental illness, like schizophrenia, can alter the inmate’s brain and cause hallucinations that may lead them to commit the crime (Greenhouse). In summary,

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