The Insanity, Insane And Mentally Ill

1697 Words Feb 4th, 2016 7 Pages
Throughout the course of history, society has tried to explain and diagnose the abnormal behavior of individuals with mental illnesses. Originally, folklore and other concepts dating back to ancient times, influenced societies to define and label those individuals that expressed abnormal patterns of behavior as mad, insane and mentally ill (Henderson, 2009). Treatment and legal proceedings for such individuals often incorporated cruel and unusual punishments and in some cases even death. Over time, societal views on the available treatments and legal proceedings for the mentally ill have changed drastically. Legal defense for those with mental illnesses, known as the insanity defense became available as far back as King Henry III’s reign over England (Ahia, 2009). The insanity defense is often used interchangeably with: the insanity plea as well as the phrase “not guilty” by reason of insanity. The accepted use of the insanity plea by the defendant, an individual whom is accused of a crime, is determined by the mental health evaluations of the court’s legal standards and or by mental health professionals. The issue of mental illness and the insanity defense becomes controversial when those with mental illnesses commit heinous crimes and use the “not guilty” by reason of insanity defense. The public fears that the individuals are using a questionable and concerning defense to be pardoned for committing violent crimes and that those individuals who are found not guilty and…
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