Insanity Defense Pros and Cons


A study revealed that of all court cases, the insanity defense is only used in 1% of cases. Furthermore, the success rate of those cases is only about 26%. Insanity defense can be a possible escape to a crime, but in order to affirm the defense of insanity or the insanity plea, the defendant must declare that he/she is not liable for his/her actions because of mental health problem. That defendant must assert that he/she is not aware of the actions.

Most of the jurisdictions necessitate a professional to prove that the defendant was really not capable of doing such criminal acts. Some may require additional elements that may acquit the defendant if proven not in control of his/her behavior when the offence took place.

Usually, the first thing that is done in a defendant’s insanity plea is that he/she needs to undergo a thorough mental evaluation. Psychologist or Psychiatrist can facilitate the process on how to determine the defendant’s actual state of mind during the crime. However, they are not in the position to decide whether the defendant is really insane. Only the jury can decide whether the testimony or the findings support the criminal insanity.

If the court finds the defendant was guilty for the alleged crime but he or she was not mentally responsible during the time that the crime was committed, often, they will be sent to a psychiatric hospital or placed in a mental asylum. Typically, punishment is not forever; it will only last until the defendant is no longer a threat to the society.

There are cases of temporary insanity. This kind of defense is very difficult to prove. If the defendant declares temporary insanity during the time of the alleged crime as a defense, and he/she is claiming that he/she is fine already then this is called temporary insanity. If the jurisdiction will accept this kind of defense, the defendant will not be sent to a psychiatric facility usually.

The Top 3 Pros of Insanity Defense

1. If the defendant was proven not guilty because of the reason of insanity, he/she will not be sentenced death penalty.

2. The defendant might not be sent to jail but there is no guarantee.

3. If the defendant is declared cured after being sent to a psychiatric facility, and there is a guarantee that he/she will no longer be a threat to anyone and he/she would be set free.

The Top 3 Cons of Insanity Defense

1. Some jurisdictions already abolished insanity plea. For those who still accept this kind of defense, it’s not that easy to be acquitted.

2. Without previous mental record, the jurisdiction will not believe the defense that easy.

3. This defense is not a guarantee that the defendant will be set free. The chance of the defendant to be sent in psychiatric facility is very high.

How Do You Feel About Insanity Defense?

Is it alright if the court will still accept the insanity plea as a defense or is it necessary that they should abolish it? Does a person who committed crime can use insanity defense as an excuse for his/her actions? This is a tough subject and the argument about this is never ending. How do you feel about this matter?