Self-Made Madness : Rethinking Illness and Criminal Responsibility book cover
1st Edition

Self-Made Madness
Rethinking Illness and Criminal Responsibility

ISBN 9780754623328
Published December 23, 2003 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This multi-disciplinary book lies in the general areas of forensic psychiatry/psychology, sociology, jurisprudence, criminal law and criminology. It questions traditional assumptions about illness and mental disorder, and deals with the controversial notion that mental disorders (and possibly other 'illnesses') may be to varying extents the fault of the 'sufferer'. It examines how the law can take into account such 'culpable' notions of mental disorder in determining criminal responsibility. This culpability for the defense-causing condition (or 'responsibility for level of criminal responsibility') is called 'meta-responsibility'. The book is divided into two parts. The first section discusses theoretical issues, such as the manner in which traditional illness models relate to meta-responsibility; the insanity defence and other mental condition defences; the relationship of clinical issues such as medication non-compliance and insight to meta-responsibility and the counterfactual notion that consideration of the possible voluntary origins of mental disorder may benefit the criminal and non-criminal mentally disordered. The second section of the book presents a case vignette experiment of mock jurors, examining the effect of a 'meta-responsibility insanity test'.

Table of Contents

Contents: Part I: An Introduction to the Theory of Meta-Responsibility: Introduction: nomenclative, philosophical, and historical issues; Meta-responsibility in insanity and other legally incapacitating conditions; Consensual and purposive meta-responsibility; Meta-responsibility and the disposal of the mentally disordered offender; Psychological and socio-legal research with a bearing on the meta-responsibility theory. Part II: An Experimental Investigation into the Theory of Meta-Responsibility: A mock juror study of the meta-responsibility theory: methodology; Quantitative data analysis and presentation of results; Discussion of results with reference to subjects' reasons for their verdicts; The meta-responsibility theory: a viable birth?; Bibliography; Legal Cases; Appendix: the measuring instrument questions; Index.

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Dr. Edward W. Mitchell is an Associate at the Centre for Criminological Research and Probation Studies Unit, University of Oxford and a Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He has a first degree in experimental psychology and a masters and doctorate in criminology from Cambridge. He was also a fellow at Harvard.


'Mitchell deserves credit for bringing a neglected topic to our consideration.' Metapsychology Online Book Reviews 'The book is well-written and the width and range of literary references perinent and entertaining, ranging...The argument is ingenious.' Justice of the Peace