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Most people with psychological disorders are not violent.




Most people with psychological disorders are not violent. But society has big problems dealing with those who are. A 1999 Justice Department study reported that about 16 percent of the inmates in American jails and prisons had severe mental disorders. That?s about 100,000 more than the 183,000 psychiatric inpatients in all types of U.S. hospitals (Bureau of the census, 2004, Butterfield, 1999). Many people who have been executed, or who are now on death row, have been affected by mental retardation or by auditory hallucinations (i.e., hearing voices). The state of Arkansas forcibly medicated one schizophrenic murderer (Charles Singleton) with antipsychotic drugs, in order to make him sufficiently mentally competent to be executed.;As we gain a better understanding of the biological and environmental influences on all of human behavior, when should we, and when should we not, hold people accountable for their actions?;Two weeks after her psychiatrist had her discontinue her antipsychotic medicine, Andrea Yates drowned her five children (ages 7, 5, 3, and 2) in her bathtub, believing that she was saving them from ?the fires of hell.? In separate trials, the juries arrived at two different verdicts.;Although Yates was clearly psychotic, her first jury rejected the insanity defense, believing that she could still discern right from wrong. The first jury decided that people who commit such rare, horrible crimes should be held criminally responsible, regardless of their mental condition at the time the crime was committed.;The second jury decided to blame the person?s condition (i.e., the ?madness?). On retrial, Yates? second jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity.;Discuss the question of which of Yates? two juries made the correct decision. Be advised that any comment/reply that does not provide any indication that you?ve familiarized yourself with the important distinction between the psychological concept of mental illness and the legal concept of insanity will be regarded as a mere ?common sense? answer and receive no credit.


Paper#24239 | Written in 18-Jul-2015

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