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Symposium on the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards

NCJ Number
George Washington Law Review Volume: 53 Issue: 3-4 Dated: (March-May 1985) Pages: 338-607
B J George; G Bennett; J W Ellis; R A Luckasson; C Slobogin; D Wexler; E H Zenoff
Date Published
171 pages
Five papers in this symposium examine the American Bar Association's (ABA's) Mental Health Standards and look at them in relation to competency to stand trial, mentally retarded criminal defendants, the guilty-but-mentally-ill verdict, a redefinition of the insanity problem, and their application to assessing dangerousness.
An overview of the ABA standards summarizes the foci of the standards: police encounters with mentally disabled persons; incompetency to stand trial; nonresponsibility for crime; dispositional consequences of nonresponsibility determinations; sexual psychopathy and other special dispositional statues; mentally ill convicts; and roles of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals in criminal justice administration. One article identifies the major issues in the standards' efforts to address conflicts in the legal and mental health approaches to persons incompetent to stand trial. Another article provides an overview of standards' issues relating to defendants with mental retardation, followed by an article that defends the ABA's recommendation against the adoption of the guilty-but-mentally-ill verdict. An article explains how certain types of homicide cases constitute the real problem in insanity-defense cases and assesses the degree to which various reforms address the problem. In discussing the standards' relevance to predicting dangerousness, the concluding article evaluates their ability to achieve an appropriate balance between crime prevention and individual autonomy. Article footnotes.