Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Psychiatry and the death penalty

  • Rob Ferris (a1)
Abstract

Ninety-five countries throughout the world retain the death penalty. All make provision for excluding the ‘insane’ from liability to capital punishment (Hood, 1990). Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are therefore involved in the process leading up to capital sentencing and execution in many of these countries. Such involvement may take many forms though, with the notable exception of the USA, very little is known of its nature or extent in practice. Whatever form psychiatric involvement takes, and however much it may be shaped in different places by social, economic and cultural variables, as well as the configuration of particular criminal justice systems, certain fundamental ethical questions arise which do not admit of simple answers. It might be argued that these ethical dilemmas no longer have relevance to European countries because they have all effectively abolished capital punishment. However, others may claim that the death penalty, as the most spectacular example of the extra clinical harm to which a psychiatrist's dealings with patients may contribute, ought to be of central concern when practitioners come to consider the uncertain balance between their duty to an individual patient and society at large.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Psychiatry and the death penalty
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Psychiatry and the death penalty
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Psychiatry and the death penalty
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All
American Medical Association (1995) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, Report 6A. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association.
Bloche, M. G. (1993) Psychiatry, capital punishment and the purpose of medicine. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 16, 301357.
British Medical Association (1992) Medicine Betrayed: The Participation of Doctors in Human Rights Abuses, p. 20, London: BMA.
Hawkins, W. (1716) Pleas of the Crown, Book 2. London: J. Walthoe.
Hood, R. (1990) The Death Penalty. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (1992) Resolution concerning the participation of psychiatrists in executions. Psychiatric Bulletin, 161, 457.
Stone, A. (1984) Law, Psychiatry and Morality: Essays and Analysis, pp. 5775. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
World Psychiatric Association (1989) Declaration on the Participation of Psychiatrists in the Death Penalty. Athens: WPA.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 10 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 20th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Psychiatry and the death penalty

  • Rob Ferris (a1)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *