Death Penalty and Mental Illness Essay

1484 WordsMay 16, 20136 Pages
I am going to begin my paper by posing this question I deem most important. Should culprits with mental illnesses be sentenced to the death penalty? The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes mental illness as medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Mental illnesses have been a huge part of our society. Nearly 50% of adults experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. More than half of these people experience moderate to severe symptoms. In fact, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability among people aged 5 and older are mental health disorders, with depression being the number one cause of all illnesses that cause disability. Despite this high prevalence of mental illness, only about 20% of people who have a mental illness receive professional help. On the one hand, for many individuals mental illness is something to be feared. The history behind mental illness is that it is a product of possession by evil spirits finds its modern expression in the accepted wisdom that “crazy” people are very different from the rest of us “normal” people and are generally to be avoided. At the same time, we have long pitied those who are afflicted by mental problems as evidenced by the centuries old existence of a special defense excusing such people from criminal responsibility, as well as by the frequent campaigns to improve their treatment facilities. I have chosen to just argue two sides of this case although there are many angles to which this case can be argued. Firstly, after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Thompson v. Oklahoma, it is unconstitutional to

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