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Amnesty International's Report on The Death Penalty and Serious Mental Illness

Armen Hareyan's picture

Mental Health and Death Penalty

Amnesty International's recent report on people with serious mental illnesses and the death penalty represents a compelling step forward in making the case that profound injustice exists at the most painful intersection of the mental healthcare and criminal justice systems in America.

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NAMI opposes the death penalty for people with serious mental illnesses. The law has not kept pace with modern science. The criminal justice system is ill-suited to address biologically-based brain disorders that create illogical, confused patterns of thought.

Juries are called upon to apply narrow, irrelevant legal definitions to people who do not fit those terms. The law tries to paint bright lines between right and wrong in order to evaluate psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations.