Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Nathalie DeFabriqueEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_995


Insanity is broadly defined as a deranged state of mind usually occurring as the result of a specific disorder or mental disease. Such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law and removes one from criminal or civil responsibility. Though commonly misunderstood, insanity is not a medical condition. Rather, it is a legal term that originated from the common law. Insanity defense can be considered a defense for criminal actions in the USA. Each state differs slightly in the definition of insanity for criminal defense purposes, but all states follow the Moral Penal Code guidelines.

The first task that each state requires is a sanity evaluation to determine the presence of a mental illness. However, the diagnosis of an Axis II personality disorder does not qualify for the insanity defense. The next question is whether the mental illness influenced the defendant’s ability to establish right from wrong. More specific...

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References and Readings

  1. American Law Institute. (1955). Model penal code. Philadelphia: American Law Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Denney, R. L. (2005). Criminal responsibility and other criminal forensic issues. In G. Larrabee (Ed.), Forensic neuropsychology: A scientific approach. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., & Slobogin, C. (2007). Psychological evaluations for the courts (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Rogers, R., & Shuman, D. (2000). Conducting insanity evaluations (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Shapiro, D. L. (1999). Criminal responsibility evaluations: A manual for practice. Sarasota: Professional Resource Press.Google Scholar
  6. Yates, K. F., & Denney, R. L. (2008). Neuropsychology in the assessment of mental state at the time of the offense. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cook County Department of CorrectionsChicagoUSA