General Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

When a state court decides a perpetrator is mentally ill does the state then become the legal guardian of this person?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4362points) October 25th, 2012

Or do they become property of the feds? Either way, does the state or federal government then have the right to run any sort of scientific tests on the perpetrators brain? Can the perpetrator deny any of this from happening?

I’m trying to figure out possible benefits to society of having the said perpetrator mentally ill. Or perhaps there is no study conducted on them?

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Not necessarily. Mental illness does not necessarily mean you can’t make your own decisions.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think people are allowed to become property in the United States, not even of the government, at either state or federal level. Also, it is illegal to experiment on human beings, no matter what their mental status, without getting the experiment approved by an Internal Review Board and without having informed consent by the subject.

Now, prisoners often participate in experimental treatments or investigations, but they may not be coerced into doing so. They must be informed about what is involved and what the potential consequences are. An IRB may not approve an experiment that would have undue harm on a subject.

So prisoners do not lose their right to humane treatment.

YARNLADY's avatar

Being a ward of the court does not automatically make someone eligible for government studies. The advantage of being declared legally mentally ill is that either the State or the Federal Government must provide taxpayer living arrangements.

zenvelo's avatar

A person who is criminally insane is in custody but does not lose his constitutional rights, which include protection from cruel or unusual punishments. No one can take another’s personhood.

The benefit to society to having people declared mentally unfit to be responsible for actions is that it keeps us civilized, and keeps us from the wholesale storage of mentally ill people. Prisons in the US have enough mental health problems as it is.

Ron_C's avatar

I can only speak from experience. When you are committed, you lose most of your rights. You can’t leave, you have to participate in your “treatment” and you lose the right to freely associate with whom you choose. I also found out you are not allowed to insult your fellow inmates, that gets you an extra day and thrown out of the psychiatrists’ office.

anartist's avatar

@Ron_C spirit of One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest, methinks

Ron_C's avatar

@anartist I never thought about that but you’re right. I think I could have started a movement, but I certainly wouldn’t volunteer to go through that again.

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