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Assignment: Criminal Justice Approaches to Mental Health

After a violent crime is committed, the public is quick to diagnose mental illness in the perpetrator. But is it really that easy? On the front lines, criminal justice professionals must determine whether the individual is exhibiting signs of mental illness and follow prescribed practices to treat the individual fairly while also keeping that individual and the public safe.

For this Assignment, you analyze case studies that feature issues related to mental health and crime. While reading, consider how you as a criminal justice professional would approach each case, and why. Then, draw on those cases to complete your Assignment.

By Day 7 of Week 4

Submit a 1,500- to 2,000-word paper in which you:

  • Explain how to distinguish between mental illness and criminality, using examples from the case studies to illustrate the difference.
  • Explain how the criminal justice system has typically or “traditionally” addressed an offender who has committed a crime due to a mental health issue, using examples from the case studies to illustrate this approach.
  • Explain how the contemporary criminal justice system addresses an offender who commits a crime due to a mental health issue, using examples from the case studies to illustrate your response. For example, address the following issues:
    • How should the responding officer proceed?
    • How should this person be processed through the criminal justice system?
    • What are the appropriate charges, if any?
    • How should the judge at the arraignment hearing proceed?
  • In addition to using the case studies to help illustrate your responses, reference your Learning Resources to support your responses.
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