Insanity Defense In Criminal Psychology

The Insanity Defense. What constitutes its use? How can personality psychology server to the client’s advantage? How is this field of psychology used to better determine a criminal’s behavior? How often is this form of defense used, and how successful is it in serving as a “get out of jail free card”? Before one can even begin to fathom any of these questions, one must first understand what this defense signifies. As one of our moral checks on the Criminal Justice System (CJS), the insanity defense is utilized in a criminal case where the defendant is deemed unaccountable for his/her own actions due to either a sporadic or chronic psychotic ‘break’ at the time of the unlawful act. The court has established several precautions – either to …show more content…
Criminologists – the examiners of criminal behavior, its causes, and effects on society – have tried to understand what ‘triggers’ these individuals to act out. Within this field, a way of understanding criminality is through the psychological frame of reference, which is where psychology finds its niche in the CJS. For example, Humanistic psychologists would claim that individuals have the free will to decide how we behave (thus are unpredictable), psychoanalysts would claim that individuals have underlying, unconscious fixations that may influence the likelihood of certain behaviors, and biological psychologists would claim that behavior can be influenced through our physiological, genetic, and developmental components. However, it would be naïve for anyone to interpret the relationship between our psychology and criminal behavior as simply black or white. When determining when an individual is applicable for the use of this defense, advocates against its use tend to argue that individuals will take advantage of this as a form of protection from ending up in jail for their actions, as well as there is no true way of determining if their actions were of their own doing or out of their control. On the other hand, advocates for its use tend to argue that, at times, the offense was a result of circumstances beyond the individual’s …show more content…
As the different perspectives of psychology have shown us, the relationship between one’s psychology and criminal behavior is not a simple dichotomy. To begin effectively examining and comprehending what drives an individual to offend, researchers must look at each situation from a full, educated perspective, while integrating multiple perspectives, before deciding if an individual is at fault or in a state of insanity at the time of a

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