The reality that individuals suffering from severe mental illness set on Death Rows all across the country today should not even be the subject for debate – the reality is too obvious. Whether they were mentally ill at the time of the crime for which they face a sentence of death is one issue. Whether they literally lost their minds living 24/7 in Death Row conditions is another.
The real question becomes, should the severely mentally ill be subject to the death penalty? Many legal scholars and health professionals have considered this issue and a number of worthwhile studies and reports are now available to us all, courtesy of the internet.
Five Excellent Studies and Reports Regarding Mental Illness and the Death Penalty
1. Double Tragedies: Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty For People with Severe Mental Illness (available for download; 37 pages) by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights;
2. Position Statement of the Mental Health America;
3. Mental Illness and the Death Penalty in North Carolina: a Diagnostic Approach (available for download; 78 pages) by the Charlotte Law School;
4. Mental Illness and the Death Penalty (available for download, 8 pages) by the American Civil Liberties Union; and
5. Task Force Report on Mental Disability and the Death Penalty (available for download, 13 pages), by multi-disciplined task force and published by the APA.