People with Psychiatric Diagnoses – Essay Example

The paper "People with Psychiatric Diagnoses " is a perfect example of a psychology essay. People with psychiatric diagnoses should be made responsible for their crimes. I am sure that many would disagree with this statement. Indeed, many nations have laws that show leniency toward criminals with mental illnesses. In fiction as well, many courtroom dramas feature a defendant that committed a heinous crime but is pleading “innocent by reason of insanity”. So, stating that criminals with psychiatric diagnoses may appear to run counter to these laws and public sentiment. But in my view, it really does not go against this line of thinking. I believe that being made responsible for your crimes is different than being punished for your crimes. Mental illnesses are just as legitimate as physical illnesses. Punishing someone for an action caused by their mental illness is no fairer than punishing a diabetic for having diabetes. The actions of the mentally ill are often a direct product of their respective illnesses. That is why punishing someone for crimes while committed while they are mentally ill is not fair. I do not, however, feel that mental illness releases anyone from personal responsibility to treat their mental illness. If a bus driver is diabetic and fails to take the proper medication, she places the public in harm's way. She could suffer from diabetic shock while behind the wheel and injure others. The same is true of the mentally ill. They are responsible for their own well being, especially if it places the public at risk. Failure to take the proper medication or attend the necessary therapy sessions is not acceptable. If a person that is mentally ill neglects these personal responsibilities and as a result, they commit a crime, then they should be held responsible. Punishment in the traditional sense through the courts would be ineffective. But the courts could mandate supervised treatment of the individual in an effort to make them responsible for their own health. Holding one accountable and punishing a person is not the same thing. Those with psychiatric diagnoses are just as responsible for staying healthy as anyone else in society.