Movement To Protect Those With Severe Mental Illness From Death Penalty Gains Traction
Legislators in at least seven states — Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have proposed bills this year to address the issue.
States Consider Barring Death Penalty For Severely Mentally Ill
Upset that people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders have been put to death after murder convictions, lawmakers in a handful of states want to bar the use of the death penalty for people with a serious mental illness. People accused of murder who are found not guilty by reason of insanity can serve time in a mental hospital and avoid the death penalty. But many states have a narrow legal definition of insanity — not knowing what one did was wrong. And critics say that leaves many people with mental disorders to be found guilty of capital crimes and sentenced to death. (Beitsch, 4/17)