The negligible effects of California's 1982 reform of the insanity defense test

M A McGreevy, H J Steadman, L A Callahan
American Journal of Psychiatry 1991, 148 (6): 744-50

OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to determine whether changing the insanity test in California in 1982 actually affected use of the insanity defense.

METHOD: They gathered information on all individuals who entered the insanity plea (N = 1,300) and all those acquitted by reason of insanity (N = 665) in seven counties in California 3 years before and 3 years after the change in the test of insanity. They focused on whether California's revision of the insanity test affected the number and rate of insanity pleas, the number and rate of insanity acquittals, the characteristics of individuals using the defense, the target offenses, and the length of stay of insanity acquittees.

RESULTS: The reform did not affect the rate of insanity pleas or acquittals, the characteristics of those using the defense, or their length of confinement.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the reform had no direct effects on the use of the insanity defense, the authors hypothesize that an indirect change in criminal sentencing practices led to a decrease in the number and rate of insanity pleas and acquittals.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"