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The insanity defense is a defense that is used in the courts to say the defendant was not aware of what they were doing at the time of the crime The terms of such a defense are to be found in the instructions presented by the trial judge to the jury at the close of a case These instructions can be drawn from any of several rules used in the determination of mental illness The final determination of mental illness rests solely on the jury who uses information drawn from the testimony of expert witnesses usually professionals in the field of psychology The net result of such a determination places an individual accordingly be it placement in a mental facility incarceration or outright release Because of these factors there are several problems raised by the existence of the insanity defense Problems such as the actual possibility of determining mental illness justifiable placement of judged mentally ill offenders and the overall usefulness of such a defense In all I believe that these problems as well as others which will be mentioned later lead us to the conclusion that the insanity defense is useless and should be abolished entirely We have seen some cases in the past such as Lorena Bobbett pleading insanityInsanity is a legal not a medical definition Therefore mental illness and insanity are not synonymous only some mental illness constitutes insanity Insanity however includes not only mental illness but also mental deficiencies Due to this there are problems in exactly how to apply a medical theory to a legal matter Gerber 8 The legal concepts of mental illness and insanity raise questions in a conflict between what are termed legalistic criminology and scientific criminology mens rea punishment v treatment responsibility and prisons v hospitals This debate seesaws to and from amidst a gray area between law and science The one problem with the theory of mental illness is that is all it is a
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