One of America?s largest problems today is the situation with the Mentally Ill and their effects on our Criminal Justice system. Ever since the deinstitutionalization of mental hospitals, our prisons have become a gathering pool for mentally ill as they are mis-diagnosed or perhaps not diagnosed at all. They become a burden not only on our prison system, but on the economy as well as they often return to the prisons and stay longer. Many law enforcement agencies around the country are beginning to implement programs to counteract what has been happening for the past thirty years.
Mental illness or insanity is:
?1. Persistent mental disorder or derangement. No longer used
2. Law. Unsoundness of mind sufficient in the judgment of a civil court
to render a person unfit to maintain a contractual or other legal relationship or to warrant commitment to a mental health facility.? (Webster 1996)
The McNaughton Rule which is used in approximately half of the states to define insanity is as follows:
1. The defendant was suffering from ?a defect of reason, from a disease of the mind.?
2. As a result, the defendant did not ?know? the ?nature and quality of the act he was doing.?
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