The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School


The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School


The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School


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Darryl Taylor
Opinion Columnist

Darryl Alexander Taylor is one of the most athletic and smart people in Journalism that most people can relate to. He originally joined Journalism as another writing class like English because he loves...

Photo credit: Gavin Sanchez
Gavin Sanchez
Lifestyle Reporter

Here at Agua Fria, there are many types of students with so much to say. But rather than focusing on one person, let’s focus on first-year student Gavin Sanchez. As a fellow Agua Fria High School...

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Troubled Minds, Troubled Crimes

Judges tools
User:Avjoska, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
User: Avjoska
Judge’s tools User:Avjoska, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In recent years, there has been growing attention to the link between mental illness and criminal behavior. While yes, it is important to recognize and address mental health issues, it’s equally important to understand that mental illness should not serve as justification for criminal actions. 

The relationship between violence and mental illness is very complex. There are many links between both and it’s important to remember that although they do have some violent tendencies, a lot of people with mental illness don’t always behave this way. Even though these people have mental illnesses, I do not believe it is a reason to justify any crimes. Mental illness shouldn’t excuse the crime because it doesn’t change the fact that the action caused harm. If somebody has a mental illness that could affect their view on this stuff and make them think it’s ok then they should be given the correct treatment or help that they need. Allowing mental illness to excuse crimes just undermines the concept of justice, fairness, and the harm caused to the victims and people involved.

I’ve read many different articles talking about the link between these and whether or not mentally ill people’s actions should be excused but so far my favorite has been this article talks about the link between mental illness and violence. Many people think that everybody who commits a violent crime has something “wrong with them” or they aren’t “thinking straight”. Even though according to this article, Mental illness and violence: Is there a link? Illinois, “Further, research indicates only 3% to 5% of violent acts can be attributed to persons with SMI (serious mental illness)”. This information by itself shows that not all mentally ill people are violent and therefore they should not be given the excuse and their actions justified for that. Yes, it’s something you should keep in mind but it shouldn’t get them excused from their actions.

American judge Miles Ehrlich talking to a lawyer.
photo taken by flickr user maveric2003, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Flickr)

There was another article I read that I thought had some interesting points, ncbi.nlm.nih.This article talks about many important things you should think about when talking about this topic, one of the main ones being individual responsibility. Holding individuals accountable for their actions is important to the legal system. While mental illness can influence behavior, individuals still have to accept responsibility for their actions. This article suggests that criminal behavior being completely excused by mental illness can undermine the concept of personal responsibility, mental illness or not. Another thing this article mentions is treatment or help which I think is really big and important if you’re having thoughts of committing any crimes. Addressing mental health concerns is important for both the safety of individuals and of society. The article emphasizes the importance of providing appropriate treatment and rehabilitation programs for offenders with mental health issues. However, receiving treatment doesn’t absolve individuals of accountability for their actions. This is something you should think about before you let those thoughts get to your head or even way before you have any thoughts of this stuff, any mental illness should be treated in the matters it needs to be.

Overall, while it’s important to acknowledge the significant influence that mental illness can have on an individual’s behavior, it’s equally important to resist the temptation to use it as an excuse for criminal actions. The complexities surrounding mental health and its interaction with criminal behavior demand an understanding approach that upholds accountability while simultaneously addressing the underlying mental health needs of individuals.

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