Dangerousness: Prediction and Legal Status
The verdict in the trial of John Hinckley has generated renewed controversy over the relationship between justice and punishment as it exists in the context of mental illness. Five major issues dominate discussions of this issue: the ability of psychiatric personnel to predict future dangerousness, the concomitant hazard to the public welfare, the assault of the “not guilty by reason of insanity” verdict on our philosophical idea of justice, the means of punishment for such offenders, and the ethical dilemma forced upon the psychiatrist who must balance respect for confidentiality against safeguarding members of the public.
Bioethics Research Library, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
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