Mentally Disordered Offenders

Perspectives from Law and Social Science

  • John Monahan
  • Henry J. Steadman

Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Incompetency to Stand Trial

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Bruce J. Winick
      Pages 3-38
    3. Henry J. Steadman, Eliot Hartstone
      Pages 39-62
  3. Acquittal by Reason of Insanity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 63-63
    2. Grant Morris
      Pages 65-108
    3. Henry J. Steadman, Jeraldine Braff
      Pages 109-129
  4. Mentally Disordered Sex Offenders

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 131-131
    2. John Monahan, Sharon Kantorowski Davis
      Pages 191-204
  5. Prison-Mental Hospital Transfers

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 205-205
    2. Michael J. Churgin
      Pages 207-232
    3. John Monahan, Sharon Kantorowski Davis, Eliot Hartstone, Henry J. Steadman
      Pages 233-244
  6. A Compendium of United States Statutes on Mentally Disordered Offenders

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 225-225
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 297-302

About this book


In its narrowest sense, "mentally disordered offender" refers to the approximately twenty thousand persons per year in the United States who are institutionalized as not guilty by reason of insanity, incompetent to stand trial, and mentally disordered sex offenders, as well as those prisoners transferred to mental hospitals. The real importance of mentally disordered offenders, however, may not lie in this figure. Rather, it may reside in the symbolic role that mentally disordered offenders play for the rest of the legal system. The 3,140 persons residing in state institutions on an average day in 1978 as not guilty by reason of insanity (see Chapter 4), for example, are surely worthy of concern in their own right. But they represent only 1% of the 307,276 persons residing in state and federal prisons in the same period (U. S. Dept. of Justice, 1981). From a purely numeric point of view, the insanity defense truly is "much ado about little" (Pasewark & Pasewark, 1982). The central importance of understanding these persons, however, is that they serve a symbolic function in justifying the imprisonment of the other 99%. The insanity defense, as Stone (1975) has noted, is "the exception that proves the rule. " By exculpating a relatively few people from being criminally responsible for their behavior, the law inculpates all other law violators as liable for social sanction.


Mental Health behavior development health hospital state

Editors and affiliations

  • John Monahan
    • 1
  • Henry J. Steadman
    • 2
  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Special Projects Research UnitNew York State Department of Mental HygieneAlbanyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1983
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4899-0353-2
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4899-0351-8
  • Series Print ISSN 0160-4422
  • Buy this book on publisher's site