New Developments in Legal Systems and Their Impact on Forensic Psychiatry

  • Hans-Jörg AlbrechtEmail author


Forensic psychiatry has well established relations to the legal system, in particular the criminal justice system. The relationship has grown stronger over time and has diversified. It is asserted also that mental health systems in Europe look back on marked progress in the last half century. The relationship between forensic psychiatry and criminal justice has been influenced by theory and research criticizing negative side effects of long-term detention in forensic hospitals and the strong stigma placed on the mentally ill with associating insanity and crime. This in turn had encouraged the development of policies of decarceration, deinstitutionalization, and community-based supervision and treatment [1]. Reform debates on the insanity defense and related law amendments, for example, in Ireland, Scotland, and England/Wales, in fact are still based upon this line of reasoning when attempting to modernize legal language, to bring legal language closer to forensic psychiatry, and, beyond that, to reduce stigmatizing effects which might be associated with the label of “insanity” [2, 3, p. 50].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Criminal Law and CriminologyFreiburgGermany

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