The Criminal Justice System and Sanctioning Mentally-Ill Offenders Persuasive Essay by Suzannah

The Criminal Justice System and Sanctioning Mentally-Ill Offenders
Argues that retribution is an inappropriate and unacceptable conceptualization of punishment for the mentally ill because their disorder makes them less culpable, thus meaning that they should not be sanctioned.
# 147494 | 2,575 words | 9 sources | APA | 2011 | FR

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The paper contends that the current U.S. criminal law system fails to adequately provide appropriate legal channels and resources for mentally ill defendants. As a result, according to the author, mental disorders are largely ignored in the legal process, thus meaning that American prisons are currently housing a significant and important sector of the mentally ill population. In order to illustrate this contention the writer uses the case of Andrea Yates who drowned her five children, whilst suffering from severe post-partum depression and psychosis. The paper's author then argues that a new model needs to be found, and focuses on juvenile justice as a means of dealing with defendants with a mental disorder.

Source Discussion
Policy Implications and Recommendations

From the Paper:

"When Andrea Yates drowned her five children, she did so because she believed that Satan was infiltrating their souls due to her poor mothering skills. Yates, who was suffering from severe post-partum depression and psychosis, had attempted to commit suicide on two occasions, and had been sectioned on several occasions for mental health treatment. Rusty Yates, the children's father, blamed the mental health system for his wife's actions and the justice system for her initial conviction, which was 40 years in prison for having ``intentionally and knowingly'' taking her children's lives - a decision that was subsequently changed to ``not guilty by reason of insanity'' in her 2006 retrial. As such, Yates would have been imprisoned for life without access to comparable mental health treatment if her original conviction had not been overturned."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Fradella, Henry F. (2006). Online article: "How Clark v. Arizona Imprisoned Another Schizophrenic While Signaling The Demise Of Clinical Forensic Psychology In Criminal Courts." Retrieved 04/10/2011 from:<>
  • Honberg, Ron; Gruttadaro, Darcy. "Flawed Mental Health Policies and the Tragedy of Criminalization." Magazine Title: Corrections Today. Volume: 67. Issue: 1. Publication Date: February 2005. Page Number: 22+. COPYRIGHT 2005 American Correctional Association, Inc.; COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
  • InvissPress (2011). Online article: "Criminal Law." Retrieved 04/10/2011 from:<>
  • Lurigio, Arthur J; . Snowden, Jessica. "Putting Therapeutic Jurisprudence into Practice: the Growth, Operations, and Effectiveness of Mental Health Court." Journal Title: Justice System Journal. Volume: 30. Issue: 2. Publication Year: 2009. Page Number: 196+. (c) 2009 National Center for State Courts. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  • Patel, Amit (2007). Online article: "Mens Rea as an Element of Crime: Why the Supreme Court

Cite this Persuasive Essay:

APA Format

The Criminal Justice System and Sanctioning Mentally-Ill Offenders (2011, April 28) Retrieved February 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Criminal Justice System and Sanctioning Mentally-Ill Offenders" 28 April 2011. Web. 26 February. 2020. <>