The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Practice Guideline Guideline
The insanity defense is a legal construct that excuses certain mentally ill defendants from legal responsibility for criminal behavior. This practice guideline has delineated the forensic psychiatric evaluation of defendants raising the insanity defense. The document describes acceptable forensic psychiatric practices. ⋯ The psychiatrist's analysis and opinion should be clearly stated in the forensic psychiatric report. It should be noted that the role of a psychiatric expert witness in the criminal justice system is predicated on the law's interest in individualizing the criteria of mitigation and exculpation. Forensic psychiatric analyses and formulations of opinions are, therefore, subject to change as the legal guidance changes.
Although the epidemiology of mental disorders in the prison system has been investigated in the past, delivery of health services to prison inmates has not received similar scrutiny. Members of a state prison commission describe the process by which they developed their assessment of health care delivery. A model is offered for defining such a mission, selecting standards against which to test prison health services, choosing a testable focus, refining a valid and reliable methodology, and piloting the result.