Demythologizing inaccurate perceptions of the insanity defense

Eric Silver, Carmen Cirincione, Henry J. Steadman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Public opinion data show that the most prevalent concern expressed regarding the insanity defense is that it is a loophole through which would-be criminals escape punishment for illegal acts. This article examines the extent to which the public's perceptions of the insanity defense are consistent with newly collected empirical data. Specifically, it compares perceptions of the use, success, and outcomes associated with the insanity defense to data derived from a large-scale study of insanity pleas in eight states. The analysis reveals that the public overestimates the use and success of an insanity defense and underestimates the extent to which insanity acquittees are confined upon acquittal. The role of selective media reporting in the formation of public perceptions is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1994

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Insanity Defense
Public Opinion
Punishment
public opinion
penalty
Insanity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

Cite this

Silver, Eric ; Cirincione, Carmen ; Steadman, Henry J. / Demythologizing inaccurate perceptions of the insanity defense. In: Law and Human Behavior. 1994 ; Vol. 18, No. 1. pp. 63-70.
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Demythologizing inaccurate perceptions of the insanity defense. / Silver, Eric; Cirincione, Carmen; Steadman, Henry J.

In: Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 1, 01.02.1994, p. 63-70.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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