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Journal Article

Citation

Gilligan J. Aggress. Violent Behav. 2019; 46: 225-231.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

10.1016/j.avb.2019.05.001

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

The insanity defense, which exempts those judged to be insane from being punished for whatever illegal acts they have committed, exists in order to be the exception that proves the rule: namely, that illegal acts, except those committed by the insane, deserve punishment, since they are produced by a person who chose to do what he knew was wrong; and that the only questions we need to ask are moral and legal ones: "how evil was he, and how much punishment does he deserve?" This article will be devoted to showing why punishment, far from preventing violence, is the most powerful stimulant to violence that we have yet discovered; and that we need to replace it with empirically tested policies that do prevent violence. To speak of universalizing the insanity defense is simply another way to speak of abolishing punishment. The article will show why we should abandon the notion that prisons can be reformed, and instead replace them with safe, secure residential colleges and therapeutic communities. This would mean thinking of violence as a problem in public health and preventive medicine, about which we ask "what are the causes of violence, and how can we prevent it?"


Language: en

Keywords

Insanity defense; Law; Morality; Prisons; Punishment; Violence

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