The Insanity Defense Essay

2225 words - 9 pages

Over the years the standards and requirements for the insanity plea have changed, from strict to lenient back to strict and so on. In some states for example Kansas, Montana, Idaho, and Utah just abolished the ability to plead insanity all together. (Insanity defense among the states ) In other states the requirements vary like in California they use the McNaughton rule which says that to be declared insane, defendants must either not have known what they were doing at the time or not have realized their actions were wrong. (Insanity defense among the states ) Despite the fact that people plead insanity it is not confirmed they will be granted that permission and there is no possible way to prove that they were actually insane at the time, the insanity defense is needed because it is a right that we are entitled to use and some people really were not aware of what they were doing so they should not receive a punishment that they do not deserve.
Despite the fact that people plead insanity it is not confirmed they will be granted that permission and there is no possible way to prove that they were actually insane at the time even with all the research and studies that they run. People say that if a person is found innocent but insane then that person is sent to a psychiatric hospital and if they get better they can even get out earlier than they were sentenced to no matter the crime that they committed. But they are wrong research shows that those who have been sent to a psychiatric hospital stay just as long as a person who committed the same crime and is in prison, even though in some states such as California and New York they stay longer. (Lilienfeld 2011) Only about 1% of those are released immediately, the rest is about three years. The insanity plea is not a “get out of jail free card” it is a rare exception that allows people who need it to be able to get the help that they need.
Even though people plead insanity and there is no possible way to prove if they were, the insanity defense is needed because it is a right that we are entitled to use if needed. In the Idaho case, John Delling was convicted of shooting and killing two of his friends, he believed that he had to kill them because they were killing him. (Caplan 2012) He suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia and according to a psychologist he was “grossly psychotic” when he committed the crime but the court decided not to take the case and he was convicted with second-degree murder and received life without parole which is the worst punishment anyone could receive. (Caplan 2012) People might say that it would have been wrong to send him to a psychiatric hospital instead of prison because then he could eventually get out of jail and it would be like setting a murderer free. However, this violated the constitution because it deprived an ill individual the right to raise an insanity defense and getting rid of the insanity defense violates the constitution’s guarantee of due...

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