Should psychological evaluations be used in determining the sentencing of people who commit crime?
Should the psychological evaluation be used in determining the sentencing of people who commit crimes? Should Temporary Insanity be allowed as a way to lessen the punishment?
Why not? The punishment may not suit the crime if the offender is treated as a sane person when he/she has less than full control of the mind. Perhaps the person can be better helped by psychiatric treatment than by solitary confinement.
I worked for a short period of time in the State Penitentiary doing assessments of those who were committed. The assessments were used to determine the programming of the inmates more than for sentencing purposes, and were not necessarily considered to be psychological evaluations. They did provide a great deal of information, however, into the likelihood of the inmate committing serious crimes in the future. I believe that psychological evaluations are simply snapshots of how the person is functioning at that moment in time. Results can vary from one evaluation to the next, depending upon the instrument used and the evaluator performing the assessment. They should be taken into consideration with other information gathering tools when determining sentencing, but not used as the sole criteria.
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