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Amnesty says U.S. Executes many Mentally Ill

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posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:08 AM


At least 10 percent of the first 1,000 people executed in the United States since 1977, were severely mentally ill, Amnesty International said in a report issued on Monday.

"For the USA to be pursuing this premeditated ritualistic killing in the 21st century of offenders suffering from serious mental illness is particularly offensive to widely held standards of decency," Amnesty said.

The number of people executed in the United States since 1977, when the Supreme Court ended a 10-year moratorium on capital punishment, passed 1,000 last month with the December 2 execution of Kenneth Boyd in North Carolina.

Amnesty said a review of psychiatric examinations, medical records and documented cases of extreme behavior found at least 100 of the condemned prisoners had clearly cataloged cases of severe mental illness. In other cases it was impossible to determine whether inmates were mentally ill since many never received a thorough psychiatric examination.

The statistical arm of the Department of Justice issued a report in 1999 stating that an estimated 283,000 mentally ill individuals were held in U.S. prisons and jails, around 15 percent of the total incarcerated population.

There are some 2.2 million people currently behind bars in the United States, making the country's prison system the largest in the world.

Amnesty also cited an estimate by the National Association of Mental Health that 5 to 10 percent of the 3,400 people on death rows around the nation were mentally ill.

"Prejudice and ignorance give rise to fear and for many people it is easier to sentence a mentally ill person to death than to find genuine treatment solutions," said Susan Lee, Amnesty's American programs director.

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Are those Statistics which belong to a Modern, Civilized, Democratic Society?

Or signs of Severly Decadent Society, which is Drowning in its own Laws?

Crime and Punishment?

And I thought that Mentally Ill Offenders Deserve a Treatment - not an Execution.

Amnesty International - The execution of mentally ill offenders

  • No person may be put to trial unless he is mentally competent to understand the charges against him and to assist his attorneys at trial;

  • No person may be convicted of a crime unless the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury that the defendant intended to commit the criminal act;

  • It is a defense to prosecution for a crime if a defendant shows he was mentally unable to know that his conduct was wrong;

  • In the punishment phase of a capital murder case, a defendant may present to the jury any and all evidence of mental impairment in mitigation against a death sentence;

  • A death row inmate cannot actually be executed unless he is mentally competent, which means that he understands that he is going to be executed and the reasons why.

"Mentally retarded persons… have diminished capacities to understand and process information, to communicate, to abstract from mistakes and learn from experience, to engage in logical reasoning, to control impulses, and to understand the reactions of others. There is no evidence that they are more likely to engage in criminal conduct that others, but there is abundant evidence that they often act on impulse rather than pursuant to a premeditated plan…Their deficiencies do not warrant an exemption from criminal sanctions, but they do diminish their personal culpability."

I STRONGLY Suggest you Read the Entire Report by AI - it is very Mind Opening...

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