Though a criminal responsibility or insanity defense may be advantageous to the defense in many instances, this is not always the case. In some cases, such a defense may mean the defendant spends more time in jail or under supervision than if they had pleaded guilty.
There are six major ways to learn more about forensic psychology: (1) books, (2) forums and listservs, (3) conferences and workshops, (4) hands-on clinical experience and observation, (5) review forensic psychologists' websites, and (6) scientific research.
Those who are mentally ill at the time of the commission of a crime may be found “insane” or not guilty by reason of insanity (or mental disease or defect, depending on jurisdiction). Rather than going to prison, the individual is sent to a hospital where they receive treatment. Individuals who are found guilty may face life in prison or even the death penalty. So is the insanity defense fair? Is the insanity defense necessary? Based on the consequences (prison vs. hospitalization) of a criminal act, there might seem to be an unfair bias toward those with mental illness. It may also seem that those with mental illness are using their symptoms as an empty justification for the crimes they have committed. So why is the insanity defense allowed?