Since the very first use of the insanity defense, in 1859, it has become corrupted and misused. A major 1991 eight-state study, commissioned by the National Institute of Mental Health, found that less than 1 percent of county court cases involved the insanity defense, and that of those, only around one in four was successful. But with those which are successful, more than 28% of the acclaimed “insane” have admitted to faking their insanity in order to receive a lighter sentencing. It has been noted that there are many issues regarding the insanity defense and as of today, nothing major has taken place to solve it. In response to this problem, 14 states have issued a GBMI verdict otherwise known as the “Guilty But Mentally Insane” verdict. Due to the abuse of the insanity plea, convicted individuals should be sentenced using the Guilty But Mentally Insane verdict rather than the Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity verdict, ...view middle of the document...
When it comes to the out-of-date insanity defense, it is clear that the legal aspect is incoherent with modern psychiatry, therefore, determining that “insanity” is an incorrect word to use when portraying a wide range of of mental states.
In order to determine whether or not a suspect should be held accountable, three tests are applied:
Diminished Capacity- Does the suspect have the ability to tell right from wrong?
Criminal Intent- Did the suspect intend to commit the crime?
Irresistible Impulse- Was the suspect mentally incapable of controlling his or her behavior?
Although many critics say this test is the only true measure of insanity, many health scholars mark these “tests” as unobjective, biased, and completely preposterous. What should matter is whether or not the suspect’s understanding of reality is truly defective.
One of the more serious recurring issues with the insanity defense is, it is becoming more and more abused by defendants in order to receive no prison time. The insanity defense contains many loopholes that criminal defense attorneys have discovered and they are beginning to use them in their cases while no action has been taken in attempt to resolve this problem. For this reason, the plea/verdict of Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI) has become an option. The GBMI plea has began to receive growing press coverage even though it is only used in 20 states throughout the U.S.. The growing rate of press coverage on the GBMI has been in response to the large amount of publicized acquittals from the NGRI verdicts. This verdict is mostly used when it is evident that there has been an inadequate amount of care or distress for the wrongdoing of their crimes, or an absence of recognition of the consequences of their actions. Due to the fact that defendants will usually go for the NGRI plea/verdict, the GBMI plea is normally used for defendants who fit under one criteria.
The GBMI plea/verdict is the fit alternative for the NGRI plea/verdict because although it is closely similar to a standard guilty plea, it puts forth the fact that the criminal is in need of mental help along with the original punishment for his crime.