Should Mental Illness Be Taken Into Account in Determining Punishment?

3175 Words Nov 29th, 2010 13 Pages
The penal system has been no help in alleviating the stigma attached to mental illness, routinely and historically treating mentally unstable inmates with just the same harsh approach as their criminally insane counterparts. Indeed, the distinction between these two populations is significant; however, authorities have long been reluctant to entertain such a concept. Similar to the treatment availed to them in institutions, mentally ill inmates have a history of being shackled, beaten and deprived of the most basic human needs. One might readily argue how state and federal penitentiaries exist for one reason and one reason only: to lock up the criminal and throw away the key. The conspicuous absence of rehabilitation programs speaks to …show more content…
A world without moral liability, according to Hume, is certainly no place for a civilized being.

"There is a species of skepticism, antecedent to all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Descartes and others as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgement. It recommends a universal doubt, not only of all our former opinions and principles, but also of our very faculties; of whose veracity, say they, we must assure ourselves, by a chain of reasoning, deduced from some original principle which cannot possibly be fallacious or deceitful" (Hume PG).

Characteristic of humanity's constant quest for the concept of meaning, the journey of understanding has come to represent myriad things to myriad people, ultimately rendering any universal explanation virtually impossible. The problem with meaning as it relates to free will's impact upon one's moral responsibility is attempting to successfully pinpoint a single yet comprehensive connotation to its overall concept; however, this cannot be achieved as long as any two individuals harbor decidedly different interpretations, which is usually the case when debating this highly controversial subject matter.
Critics have long questioned the theory of free will existing within the shadow of determinism, arguing how difficult it is to realistically determine if people exhibit certain behaviors out of fear of consequence or because they have the power to take control of their

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