It has been shown that almost all people on death row have brain damage from an illness or trauma, while a large amount of the others have been through severe physical and or sexual abuse (Death). People with mental illness should not face the death penalty because killing them does not make anything any better, they don’t always know the difference between right and wrong, and it is not their fault that they are mentally ill. The first reason that people with a mental illness should not be executed is because it does not reduce violence or illness (Sheffer).
There are no benefits from executing people. One may think that it does, but if the crime was committed by someone who was mentally unstable like a bipolar person, it could have been a random act of violence that they would have not done otherwise if not mentally ill. People may think that it will bring a sigh of relief knowing that the person who committed the crime is not out on the streets of alive in anyway so they are not given the chance to do the crime. But there is a difference between a sane person committing a crime and a mentally ill person committing a crime.
The difference is that a sane person knows that what they are doing is wrong but a mentally ill person does not. Everyone makes mistakes in life some bigger than others. Yes, they should be punished, or at least helped to make sure they do not do it again. But killing them is like doing the crime two times. It also never brings the person they killed back (Sheffer). The death of the person responsible for the murder does not make anything any better than what is was. Some people may thing it does. But it does not.
The second reason is that they do not always know the difference between right and wrong. The question people ask is, How do you truly know if you are mentally insane? ” the courts have came up with something called the reality test. ” It is the only true measure on insanity (Vaknin). The mentally insane plea has became common in court cases. It has become less about compassion for the mentally ill than a loophole for the sane (Vaknin). A mental impairment does not equal insanity. It has been proven that almost all of death row inmates suffer from brain damage.
Or they have gone through a tremendous amount of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse throughout their life (Death). Having a troubled mental state is accounted for when they are sentencing a person or they are going through trial. If a person is truly insane and not just saying this to try and get out of the death penalty or being incarcerated they should be hospitalized and not incarcerated because if they are in the hospital they can get the proper medication and help that they need unlike if they were in jail or prison, the would not get the proper help that they would need.
Jarome Bowden was put to death for the murder of a nine year old girl, but it was shown days prior he was given an IQ test and got a sixty five, which is almost equal to being retarded (Grossman 179). The jury and the judge did not think that his IQ had judgment of him knowing right from wrong. He had a reading level of a second grader, and a mental age of a nine year old. Some may say that this I completely unconstitutional to put him or anyone with an IQ between sixty and sixty nine to death (Grossman 179).
Saying that someone that is mentally ill and not in control of their actions and not knowing what is right and wrong is like saying that a baby or toddler should be punished to the extreme for doing something that they did not know was wrong. Finally, the third reason that people with mentally illness should be exempt from the death penalty is because it is not their fault they are mental and can’t control their actions. A mental illness is caused by genetics, psychological, or infection or trauma in the head. Not something they can choose to have or not.
If someone were to tell someone that a genetic decease was the persons fault that has it they would be wrong. People can tell if someone has a mental illness by their actions, emotional, and or how they behave (Death). The raise of mental illness raises questions of societal responsibility (Sheffer). The death penalty is not the answer to the problem of violence committed by a person with a severe mental illness (Sheffer). Someone who is not in control of what they are doing because of their mental illness which is not their fault should get the proper mental help and not be executed.
I have shown many reasons of why people with mental illnesses should be exempt from the death penalty. I have proven in different ways that people with mental illnesses do not always know the difference between right and wrong, they have no control over their mental illness and that putting them to death does not reduce violence or crime rates. There are a lot more reasons why they should be exempt from the death penalty other than these three. Now it is up to the people to choose if people with mental illnesses across the United states should or should not face the death penalty.