Influence of defendant mental illness on jury sentencing
Jury sentencing has been the widely supported procedure of the American Criminal Justice system for a century, yet the stigmatization of mental illness that has been falsely influencing the proceedings of the courtrooms has gone unnoticed for too long. It is a common misconception that individuals with schizophrenia are violent deviants and as such they are more likely than defendants who do not carry the burden of a mental illness to receive harsher sentences when involved in criminal activities (Steadman, 1981). This study presented four conditions to which participants were randomly assigned, alone or in a group of three, and were asked to sentence a defendant, either with or without schizophrenia I hypothesized that group deliberations would result in more lenient sentences for defendants with schizophrenia than individual deliberations would, and that both group and individual deliberations would result in harsher sentences for defendants with schizophrenia than defendants who do not have a mental illness. The results of this study revealed that defendants with schizophrenia were sentenced in a more lenient manner than defendants with no mental illness. However, several other significant findings indicated an indirect negative attitude toward the mentally ill defendant.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
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Honors in the Major Thesis
Sabbagh, Marie L., "Influence of defendant mental illness on jury sentencing" (2010). HIM 1990-2015. 949.