Mind And Crime Essay

2142 words - 9 pages

Mental health and the criminal justice system have long been intertwined. Analyzing and understanding the links between these two subjects demands for a person to go in to depth in the fields of criminology, sociology, psychology, and psychiatry, because there are many points of view on whether or not a person’s criminal behavior is due to their mental health. Some believe that an unstable mental state of mind can highly influence a person’s decision of committing criminal actions. Others believe that mental health and crime are not related and that linking them together is a form of discrimination because it insinuates that those in our society that suffer from poor mental health are most likely to become a criminal due to their misunderstood behavior not being considered a normality in society. In this report I will go into detail of what mental health and mental illness is, what the differentiates a normal and a mentally unstable criminal, give examples of criminal cases where the defendant’s state of mind was brought up, introduce theories surrounding why one would commit crimes due to their mental health, and lastly I will discuss how the criminal justice system has been modified to accommodate mental health issues.

According to the C.D.C ( Centers for Disease Control) the term mental health is commonly used in reference to mental illness. However, knowledge in the field has advanced to a level that completely separates the two terminologies. But even so mental health and mental illness are indeed in fact related, they represent different psychological state of mind with in a person. Mental health refers to our physical and emotional well being. Mental health is mainly all about how we behave, interact, and think. It can affect our everyday life, this includes a person's ability to enjoy life or create balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological stability. According to Medilexicon ( a medical dictionary), mental health is "emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one's instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one's social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits". There are factors that can affect a person's Mental health from everyday concerns to the environment a person grows up in. The C.D.C defines Mental illness as “collectively all diagnosable mental disorders” or “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” The Medilexicon refers to Mental illness as " a broadly inclusive term, generally denoting one or all of the following: 1) a disease of the brain, with predominant behavioral symptoms, as in paresis or acute alcoholism; 2) a disease of the “mind” or personality, evidenced by abnormal...

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