By April Therese L. Escarda & Dheenise Eiver B. Villaruz, JD 1
Personality is a concomitant factor in many kinds of behavior, one of which is associating with criminal demeanor. To fully ascertain what constitutes a criminal, we must first understand the personality of a person. Further, this research focuses on the lived experiences of psychologically-ill individuals who were victims of injustice. To specify their background, it will highlight those who have been indicted of crimes which correlates with their personality disorders. The participants of this research will be individuals who were accused of crimes but were rehabilitated from their diagnosed disorders; with the proper aid from psychiatrist/psychologist and anti-crime authorities. The aforementioned participants will range from 18 to 70 years of age and a resident of Negros Occidental. However, the focus of discussion will not be directly addressed to psychologically-ill individuals, as to which the responses may not be accurately flourished. Otherwise, the researchers will keep in touch with mental health experts and anti-crime authorities which handled the aforementioned topic while ensuring proper ethical considerations. In view of data gathering, researchers will use a semi-structured interview guide questionnaire which will serve as basis in jotting down the responses. Hence, the foregoing result of this topic is to properly assess the equality of laws among psychologically-ill individuals involving unlawfulness or criminal acts.
Background of the Study
In the past years, many psychologically-ill individuals were being housed in correctional facilities and penitentiaries than receiving proper medical care from hospitals. Studies have shown that some prisoners who suffer from serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression were not given appropriate treatment but instead were put in jails to rot (Teplin, 1990). Such conditions manifest inhumane treatment due to a poor justice system. Further, the high rate of mentally-challenged individuals in prison is due to a common misconception that they are a danger to public safety; the failure to promote treatment, care, and rehabilitation; and lack of poor access to mental health facilities in many countries.
There has been an alarming concern for several decades on wrongful conviction among imbeciles and insane in countries such as Canada, the United States, Britain, and other jurisdictions. Studies show that mental morbidity, severe psychiatric deterioration, and problems with psychological and social adjustments on wrongly convicted individuals were apparent in several cases. Further, mentally-ill individuals and their families have been exposed to chronic psychological trauma because of wrongful convictions (Grounds, 2005). The mental and psychological consequences severely affect the lives of those who were wrongfully accused, these effects are apparent even after the overturning of the conviction. Consequences are not only evident to the wrongfully accused individuals but also affect the accused’s families. Damage to reputation; psychological and physical health such as depression, anxiety, sleeping problems; isolation/poor relationship with others; negative financial impacts; loss of trust towards the justice system and adjustment difficulties are only a few effects on families of wrongfully convicted individuals (Brooks & Greenberg, 2020).
With the abovementioned effects, mental health experts play a crucial role in helping wrongfully accused individuals cope with the various challenges through providing support services such as intensive case management; individual, family, and group counseling; and several advocacy opportunities to assist with managing the complex reactions to wrongful imprisonment (Westervelt & Cook, 2008). Further, interventions are crucial in considering how the wrongly imprisoned and their families adapt to the circumstances (Grounds, 2005). Social workers can advocate for access to needed services, they can administer an assessment to know what kinds of support are necessary, in this way, increase treatment adherence, and continuity of care is practiced. Family counseling plays an invaluable role in promoting cohesion and reconnection, help in building mutual understanding, and strengthen coping skills between wrongly imprisoned individuals and their families (Weigand & Anderson, 2007). Further, group work and peer support opportunities offer a significant role in strengthening healing and empowerment, in this way, they can relate to others who have faced and survived similar horrors.
Likewise, anti-crime authorities and criminal justice professionals play a significant role in preventing unlawful charges against psychologically-ill individuals through careful scrutiny of evidence presented. Further, heightened professionalism and greater attention to casework can reduce the chance of a wrongful conviction. Also, authorities should screen the motivation and veracity of witnesses and carefully investigate the reasonableness of their testimony (Carrano et al, 2012).
In the part of the justice system, under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, an imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval, is exempt from criminal liability since there is an absolute absence of freedom and voluntariness of the act. The Supreme Court of Spain has ruled that for an accused to be regarded as insane, the latter must have an absolute deprivation of intelligence while committing the crime. Moreover, the accused must prove that he suffers from an absolute deprivation of freedom of the will.
Other countries also have their justice system that rules the criminal responsibility of those who suffer from psychological illnesses. For instance, a statute in New York provides that an idiotic or lunatic can only be absolved from criminal responsibility when proven that he is insane at the time of the commission of the crime. Further, the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts held that a person who has no willpower, no conscience, and no controlling mental powers or his intellectual capacity was obliterated cannot be held accountable for the crime committed. In Illinois, the existing statute mandates that an insane individual shall not be found guilty of any crime unless acted upon during a lucid interval. In Spain, those who cannot fully understand the unlawful act during the time of his or her commission cannot be held criminally responsible. The Criminal Code of France provides that a person who suffers from a psychological or neuropsychological disorder at the time when the criminal act was committed cannot be held criminally liable.
Several studies have been done in determining data on wrongfully accused individuals who have served sentences for many years in jail before they were absolved however, there are limited studies conducted in determining the psychological effects of a miscarriage of justice on them (Grounds, 2005). Hence, this prompts the researchers to investigate the psychological, mental, spiritual effects of wrongful conviction among psychologically-ill individuals and the roles of anti-crime authorities and mental health experts in resolving the unlawfulness charged against psychologically-ill individuals.
As we are collating progress of results in this research, the researchers came up with the following objectives:
- This research aims to distinguish the role of mental health experts and anti-crime authorities in resolving the unlawfulness blatantly charged against psychologically-ill individuals.
- This research purports to tackle several provisions of the law that are used as basis for judgment, concerning psychologically-ill individuals that were sentenced to crimes.
- This research intends to provide remedy and recommendations that will be beneficial for psychologically-ill individuals and its correlation to Philippine justice system.
This chapter discusses the procedures and methods that the researchers will use to acquire results for the study.
The research designs that will be used in this study is semi-structured interview. A semi-structured interview will provide a clear set of instructions for interviewers and often preceded by observation, informal and unstructured interviewing in order to allow the researchers to develop a keen understanding of the topic.
This study will be conducted on selected rehabilitation centers and at the Hall of Justice located at Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. However, due to pandemic, the researchers agreed to have the interview via online platform by means of video conference at the most convenient spot feasible to the researchers and participants.
The participants of this research will be individuals who were accused of crimes but were rehabilitated from their diagnosed disorders; with the proper aid from psychiatrist/psychologist and anti-crime authorities. The aforementioned participants will range from 18 to 70 years of age and a resident of Negros Occidental. However, the focus of discussion will not be directly addressed to psychologically-ill individuals, as to which the responses may not be accurately flourished. Otherwise, the researchers will keep in touch with mental health experts and anti-crime authorities which handled the aforementioned topic while ensuring proper ethical considerations.
This study utilizes snowball sampling method as a research sampling technique. It is often used to find and recruit hidden populations, that is, groups not easily accessible to researchers through other sampling strategies.
Potential participants will be selected from referrals given to the researchers. They will be approached formally for an approval to participate in the interview. Once approved, they will be briefed about the purpose of this study and will be given a written consent wherein they will be given the choice whether they want to be named through an alias or be given anonymity. Also, the researchers will provide a copy of the interview guide to the participants so that they can prepare themselves emotionally and mentally before the interview proper. Afterwards, the researchers will conduct the interview proper. They will be given an option whether they want to be recorded in the video. When the interview is finished, the recording will be transcribed and validated by the participants.
This chapter entails the themes that emerged from the data gathered during the interviews clearly influence the objectives which seeks to answer the challenges, effects and coping ways that are experienced by psychologically-ill individuals charged against unlawfulness.
Movement of Professions
In the first objective seeking to answer the comparative roles of mental health experts and anti-crime authorities, the researchers were able to find out that the former and latter are imparting special roles toward psychologically-ill individuals. On the first profession referring to the mental health experts, these are professionals that can help in taking control of one’s personal issues in his/her life. Further, they may also help assess and diagnosis mental health conditions. Thus, these set of professionals include Psychologists, Counselors, Clinicians, Therapists, Clinical Social Workers. Psychiatrists, Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, Primary Care Physicians, Family Nurse Practitioners, and Psychiatric Pharmacists. (Krucik, 2017). In relation to this, the researchers kept in touch with selected participants that are both mental health professionals and advocates. In verbatim, the respondent stated: “In that matter, mental health experts could provide support and maybe with talk therapy. Other than psychiatrist “nga makahatag sang bulong” (that could prescribe medicine) it’s more on the psychotherapy, and in the perspective of the guidance counselor, it’s more on the talk therapy. It’s more on the preparation of the victim or client on what to expect. I think it’s in the hand of the lawmakers or lawyers. If in terms of the psychological support, just being there, to talk, to listen, to give a helping hand, moral support also helps. Giving or helping with the evidences “para makit an gid nga” (to prove that) accused is psychologically-ill. If psychiatrist, then he/she can prescribe medicine to the psychologically-ill, if you are a psychologist then you can provide a psychotherapy, when you are a guidance counselor then talk therapy.” Additionally, the impact of mental health advocates in lessening the crimes does not literally speak before the law, but their presence serves as a pathway to guide individuals who are psychologically-ill to better know themselves and the effects of the impulsivity later on. On the other hand, the researchers approached a psychiatric nurse in one of the mental health facilities at Bacolod City, seeking to know the actualization of people being diagnosed with psychological disorders. Apparently, the respondent answered “amon ubra kami ga kwa sang pasyente sa ila residence kapin na gid kung chronic and severe illnesses na hindi manageable kay kabudlay sa ila awaton. Ang iban ga hulid pa armas sa ila tupad. More common on individuals suffering from schizophrenia kay present sa ila ang hallucinations. Amon intention dal-on sila sa mental facilities kay with consent ka pamilya man nila pero sa amon part as psychiatric nurse, madako gid na obligasyon kay what if gin hana-an kami ka armas, ano mahimo namon. Gin ubra lang namon ang ubra. Usually, it happens like 3AM kami ga kadto sa residence kay muok tulog ka pasyente kaso hindi malikawan nga basi mag dulom panan-awan nila kag kami paukpan, kami kalulo-oy. Pero ubra ni namon kag kinanlanon protektahan ta ang isa ka tawo labin na gid mga pasyente ta kay ga kinahanglan sila dako na bulig. Ang mental health budlay i-cure, mas budlay pa sa physical. Amo ina na kinanlan ta man halungan sila kag maintain privacy always especially kung ga lab-ot na sa ila personalidad.” ( One of our main duties is to pick up severe or chronic patients from their residence. Some of them secure deadly weapons while sleeping. This is quite common on patients who suffer from schizophrenia since hallucinations are evident. With the consent of their families, our main duty is to be able to deliver them to the mental facilities safely carrying a huge responsibility and danger in our lives. We usually pick the patients around 3am in the morning, since they are in deep sleep, it poses a danger on our end since they might think of us as intruders. But nevertheless, this is our job and we need to protect our patients since they need our help and assistance. Mental health is quite difficult to cure, that is one of the reasons why we need to take good care of them and secure their privacy at all times. ) In line with the scenario illustrated by the respondent, the researchers came to the point to hardly fathom the effects of fear towards the mental health professionals. But as the psychiatric nurse pointed out, it is their duty to look after the patients despite the anxiety that they might feel. It also added that privacy and confidentiality must be given importance as these are sensitive cases that are experienced by the people with psychological disorders. In connection to this, The American Psychological Association has advocated allowing mental health workers to exercise professional judgment regarding the duty to warn and not to unnecessarily expand “dangerous patient” exceptions. Mandatory reporting laws, say some professionals, may discourage people from seeking professional help or fully disclosing their intentions; or providers may be reluctant to treat potentially violent patients because they fear liability for failure to properly fulfill the duty to warn. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2018).
Moving forward to the roles of anti-crime authorities, the researchers interviewed a Fiscal in Bacolod City and shared her knowledge tackling their role in facing a psychologically-ill individual that is being accused with crime. First, the respondent imparted the process of inquest to fully understand the entirety of conviction. In the course of interview (inquest proceeding: the purpose of inquest is to determine whether or not the arrest of the detainee or the person who was arrested was actually lawful, so that is why in the course of determining whether the arrest is lawful or not and in the interview the prosecutor exercising his own discretion would actually determine whether or not the person who was arrested was actually already of sound mind, the inquest officer will be in charge of conducting question, he would in a way determine (even if he is not an expert in psychology) whether the accused can discern, he knows that he was being charged of a crime, the respondent or detained person would be informed of the nature and the cause of the charges against him and he will be confronted of the facts of the arresting officer or the complainant, he will also have a prize of his rights, if he needs a counsel of his choice, he can do so, if he cannot afford to have one, he can avail the services of a PAO lawyer.
In that way, in the course of that questioning and providing the information, “the inquest officer would know whether or not the respondent can discern what is being charged against him. In a way “makita nana da” (will know) on how he answers, on how he deport, because of course prosecutors are not really experts and they cannot determine this person is psychologically-ill for as long as he answers your questions, he knows that he was arrested, he knows that he is subjected to inquest right at the very moment, the prosecutor will proceed giving him info pricing him the charges against him, he will also be informed, he may remain silent, he may not answer at all and wait until given advice by counsel, in that way, he is arrested for homicide or murder, let us say a witness or him will be claiming insanity, it would be at the stage of the inquest proceedings, it would be very difficult for him to establish that unless there is proof to show that he was previously confined or was receiving medication or subjected to any medical assistance in view of his mental illness, but if he cannot provide one and he merely alleged or merely claims, the prosecutors would not outrightly believe the claim of insanity.” In line with this, an insane person does not incur criminal responsibility. Insanity is the total deprivation of the mental ability to appreciate the criminality of one’s conduct. (Chapter 2, Section 11, The Criminal code of the Philippines). Thus, anti-crime authorities clearly depicted that insanity shall be proved and is evident before conviction.
The Justice System: Insanity vs. Law
In the second objective, the researchers aim to tackle several provisions of the law concerning psychologically-ill individuals that were sentenced to crimes. Further, it will highlight the justice system of the Philippines that is relevant to the basis for judgment. In line with this, under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, an imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval, is exempt from criminal liability since there is an absolute absence of freedom and voluntariness of the act. The Supreme Court of Spain has ruled that for an accused to be regarded as insane, the latter must have an absolute deprivation of intelligence while committing the crime. Moreover, the accused must prove that he suffers from an absolute deprivation of freedom of the will. The researchers herein included the justice system of Spain because the Revise Penal Code of the Philippines adapted the Codigo Penal of Spain in 1887. Going back to the provisions, the main basis for the sentence of psychologically-ill individual is Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code exempts an insane person from criminal liability, except if the person “acted during a lucid interval.”
For instance, the insanity defense is a move used by suspects who claim they were not in their right minds when they committed a crime and should therefore be absolved. In line with this, there was a certain case correlated with the aforecited provision, The latest known success of an insanity plea in the Philippines was decided by the Supreme Court just last 2016, when the High Court reversed judgment and acquitted Solomon Verdadero for the crime of homicide. The Supreme Court ruled that there was enough evidence to prove Verdadero was having a relapse of schizophrenia when he stabbed to death a man who had reported him to the police for stealing the fan belt of their irrigation pump. (G.R. No. 216021, March 02, 2016 – SOLOMON VERDADERO Y GALERA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.). On the other hand, in 2012, the Supreme Court junked the insanity plea of Edwin Isla for the crimes of rape and frustrated murder. The High Court said then that Isla failed to prove he was “insane” when the crime was committed, noting that the psychiatric examinations were only conducted after the crime. It is also the same reason why the Supreme Court thumbed down in 2000 an insanity plea from a parricide convict who said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the crime. The High Court also noted then that schizophrenics “may have lucid intervals during which he may be able to distinguish right from wrong. (G.R. No. 199875 : People of the Philippines v. Edwin Isla y Rossell). Thus, as regarded, Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code says that a person who is proven insane shall be under “confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.”
Effects and Remedies to Psychologically-Ill Individuals and Their Families
Moving to the last objective which aims to seek remedies and recommendations that will be beneficial for psychologically-ill individuals and its correlation to Philippine Justice System. The researchers intend to develop in mind what are the “supposed-to-be” effects to the person suffering from psychological disorders and to his/her family? Further, these are answered by the respondents on the field of mental health profession. First, this will tackle the effects concerning the psychologically-ill individual. “It will start off with mental, emotional and spiritual aspects are already dysfunctional and hampered since they cannot think clearly, they are already senseless, the reaction to the environment “indi na amo” ( their reaction to the environment is quite different), wrongfully accusing them will just add damage to the injury, so they are getting more irrational, uncontrollable feelings and they neglect their physical capacity. It will just make the condition worse, “instead nga mabuligan pa sila” ( Instead of helping them), it will just make the condition worse being regarded as psychologically-ill, “wala naman gid na sila sa ila inchakto nga paminsaron. So nagiging mas indi klaro pagid” (it will just make the condition worse being regarded as psychologically-ill individuals.). They will have more doubts and more questions, it will lead them to more trouble.” “The chaotic environment or prison, jail setting, is in itself something that would really affect the person “maskin may mental health concern kapa or wala” (with or without mental health concerns.), being exposed to the jail setting. Of course there is really an effect especially if you ask somebody from a very comfortable situation, home environment then they were accused of the crime and they will be put into the jail, “may effect gid na sya, first sa physical” ( there are a lot of effects, firstly, in the physical aspect). This is something new, anything that is new can be stressful to a person especially in a jail setting. The effect might be the fear given the pre-conceived notion of being in jail, we were taught as young people until nag grow up how difficult it is to be in jail, somehow “may effect gid na siya ya, indi lang ko maghambal nga small” it is drastic, very stressful circumstance, how much more if you have mental health challenges, “kadako sang effect sini” in terms of the dimensions that you have mentioned in the interview questions, ( somehow it has really a drastic effect being exposed in a very stressful circumstance, how much more if you have mental health challenges, the effect could be so huge in terms of the dimensions that you have mentioned on your interview questions,) in terms of physical, emotional, spiritual, for certain individuals, persons being imprisoned can be a part of their enlightenment journey, because they can process the situation. If you are mentally challenged, you might not really be able to really process it, you need a professional to process the experience for you, maybe the emotions of being frightened, being fearful, overwhelming. Some people might suffer not having enough sleep already, you know how powerful the mind is and how overthinking can bring us to a certain kind of mental situation. Imagine “ga overthink ka gani” as a person who is not suffering from mental health, how much more “naka contend gid na sila ya sa amo na nga direction.” We don’t even know, “kung maghambal ka bi mental health, damo-damo na sya ya nga” areas so I am speaking in a general circumstance.” ( Imagine a person who does not suffer from any mental infirmities tend to overthink, how much more those who are psychologically-ill. When we talk about mental health, it has various dimensions and areas so I am speaking in a general circumstance.) In the short-term, mental health problems can cause people to be alienated from their peers because of perceived unattractive personality traits or behaviors. They can also cause anger, fear, sadness and feelings of helplessness if the person does not know or understand what is happening. In the long-term, mental health disorders can drive a person to commit suicide. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, over 90 percent of suicides have depression or another mental disorder as factors. Additionally, the effects on the individuals suffering from psychological disorders who have been accused with crimes are supposed to look after because the damage that they can cause onto themselves might be coming from several emotions that they feel and the urge of giving up. Such as the effects on mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Thus, these people need proper guidance from mental health professionals and even from their families and loved-ones, as to avoid causing personal damage. This type of circumstance will let mental health professionals to interfere by giving them adequate guidance. On the other hand, the effects will not just limit on the side of the patients. More chances will also be adapted by their respective families. “Remember we are in the context of being Filipinos much more being Negrosanon, in Bacolod, very small community and grabe gid ang value ta on reputation. That is the first thing that the family would confront, for some they know already the mental health status of their family members but they always have the tendency to hide it because of the stigma, ti ging accused ini sang crim, damo-damo sya e deal nga emotions all at the same time, nahuy-an ka, second, overwhelming, paano ko ni mabuligan ang akon family member, third ang ila own emotional highs and lows, imagine mo nadakpan ka sa secret nga gina tago mo, for some that can be a thing for them, wala sila gani acceptance from the family member given the fact that they know the circumstance, ang iban may ari naman gd ni sila mga doctors pero gina tago na nila but if a family member who is suffering from mental illness and they get involve in a crime, kadamo-damo gd sang e deal sang family members. Ang mental health may biological factor na siya so some of the family members might also be having a higher percentage of mental illness, so can you imagine kung ano ang e suffer sang bilog nga family given the fact nga ang isa nila ka family member was being accused and eventually was put into jail. Ang mga gina face tani bala nga high-end cases, we just don’t know what is going on inside the corners of the homes kng paano ni sila gina help or paano sila ga suffer, that’s the reason maybe nga wla man ta kablo that they are also aware, may ara mana sila processing of mental health, good if you are capable if you have the resources kay ka mahal” ( Remember we are in the context of being Filipinos much more being Negrosanon, specifically in Bacolod, which is a very small community and we value reputation very well. That is the first thing that the family would confront, for some they know already the mental health status of their family members but they always have the tendency to hide it because of the stigma, how much more if a family member was accused, they have a lot of emotions to deal with all at the same time, first, it can be shameful, second, it can be overwhelming, you might ask yourself on how you will be helping your family, lastly, their emotional highs and lows, imagine when your own secret is exposed, for some that can be a thing for them, their families cannot even accept them given the fact that they know the circumstance, there are some who are already undergoing medications with their doctors but they tend to still hide it, but if a family member who is suffering from mental illness and they get involve in a crime, there are a lot of things that the family needs to handle. Mental health can also be influenced by biological factors, some family members have a higher percentage of acquiring the mental illness. These high-end cases that we encounter, we just do not know what is going on inside the corners of their homes, how they suffer and how they receive help). Exposure to an isolated and threatening environment will make the condition of the psych-ill individual worse. As it is not complying to the rehabilitation, as supposed to be “ara sya dapat sa” (should be in the) conducive and supportive environment because that is very important in the treatment of the individual. Mentally, it will not do any good at all, in fact it will just make things worse and physically, it will just add up to more complications, it becomes pathologic “na, so tanan-tanan naging affected na. Nagiging pathologic na sa victim” (that everything is affected, it becomes pathologic to the victim), when it comes to the families, this is too much for the family to handle, they become more helpless, this will weigh them down having a member of the family that is ill and wrongfully indicted pa, this will also affect them financially, they need to exert effort to help their family member, this will also affect them socially since they will be branded negatively, e avoid na sila sang mga tawo, it affects their relationship to others, also mentally, it is too much already. So you cannot think well, cannot eat well, “pwede na nga ma masakit ang iban nga member sang family” (those members of the family who are getting sick). It could lead to something worse, they may get sick of the compounded effect. Spiritually, it can be either to hold on to God or to despise God, it is always two sides of the coin. All aspects of the family is also affected.”
According to a study concerning mental health, A survey showed that more than 80% of patients agreed that their mental health conditions had had a detrimental effect on their family. Mental health issues can be an extremely painful and traumatic time for all of the family and have huge impact on a family’s financial and emotional components. When it comes to mental illness, the emotional and behavioural consequences for family members go largely ignored. It is clear that individuals’ mental health problems have consequences for others within their social networks, most notably, their family. Looking after a family member with a mental illness can be an extremely stressful time and coping with the stress may rouse various reactions such as somatic problems (migraines, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia), cognitive and emotional problems (anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, anger, confusion) and behavioural troubles (changes in attitude, and social withdrawal).
Family life can become unsettled and unpredictable as the needs of the ill become paramount. Studies show that a large number of family members have had to, on one or more occasions, leave their job, whilst others said they have had to give up their recreational pursuits. Social lives are usually the first to go as they may feel nervous about inviting people into their home and find it difficult to open up to people about their relative’s problems.
Dr Niall Campbell (MBBS, MRCPsych) Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Roehampton (London): “It is easy for family members to feel guilt or blame themselves for their relative’s decline in mental health. For a long time, parents and other family members were the focus of blame for the occurrence of psychological problems.
“This was largely due to Freud’s early psychoanalytic theory which states that problems in adulthood are due to early childhood experiences. Other psychological theories have developed since then and we now know that the family actually plays a huge role in their relative’s recovery. “It has always been clear to us how much illness and addiction can affect a patient’s family. This survey was excellent in outlining the main areas and relationships that are influenced. At Priory, we always try to treat holistically so that the family are always involved and understand what is happening.”
Mental health experts which include psychologists, counselors, clinicians, therapists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners, primary care physicians, family nurse practitioners, and psychiatric pharmacists play a significant role in lessening the psychological and mental effects of wrongful conviction to psychologically-ill individuals through support, psychotherapy, talk therapy, prescription of evidence, and helping with the evidence. Further, their presence serves as a guide to psychologically-ill to better know themselves and prepare them for the possible consequences and effects of wrongful conviction to their mental health. As to the anti-crime authorities, they also contribute a huge role through careful scrutiny during inquest proceedings or preliminary investigation. The anti-crime authorities, exercising his own discretion, could determine whether or not the respondent is of sound mind, whether or not the respondent can discern, and whether or not he knows that he is being charged of a crime. Further, the respondent will also have a prize of his rights.
Article 12, Paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code is one of the relevant provisions highlighted in this study. It states that an imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during lucid interval, is exempt from criminal liability. For an individual to be exempt from criminal liability invoking paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code, he must be able to prove to the courts that he is completely deprived from freedom and intelligence before or during the commission of the crime. Further, the burden of proof lies within him to justify before the courts that he is suffering from absolute deprivation of freedom and intelligence.
As to the effects and remedies to psychologically-ill individuals and their families, the findings showed that accusing mentally-ill individuals will worsen the latter’s condition, it will add damage to the injury in terms of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Further, being exposed to a dangerous and chaotic environment such as the prison will create fear among wrongly accused individuals given the pre-conceived notion of the jail setting. This circumstance does not only affect the individual who was wrongfully accused but can also inflict damage and pain to the latter’s families. Being in a Filipino setting and living in a small community of Negros where reputation is valued and the stigma towards mentally-challenged individual is quite strong, the damage that has been made to them is quite overwhelming that they may find it hard to process all the emotions and experiences that are happening and may be on the verge of giving up, thus the role of mental health professionals come into play. The latter’s role is to provide guidance and support for the psychologically-ill individuals and their families.
The following are recommendations to help and support psychologically-ill individuals who are accused of crimes:
Family of the psychologically-ill individuals who are accused of crimes are highly encouraged to show deep understanding on the situation of the latter, as well as the emotional consequences of stereotyping and improper injustice. Their support and empathy are important especially during tough situations and unforeseen circumstances.
Known acquaintances are highly encouraged to show love and acceptance towards the psychologically-ill individuals so that they may feel respected despite being psychologically challenged. Friends shall have special part in making them feel that they are accepted whatever feeling of distress that might occur during their hard times.
Society are highly encouraged to show respect and acceptance to psychologically-ill individuals so that they may feel that amidst the false accusations, conviction without due process and thorough diagnosis, they may be able to feel that they are not isolated from the community despite the challenges that they are facing especially in relation to crime and offense involvement. Society shall take bigger steps in accepting these kind of individuals as they are also one with us having unfortunate condition which should also require proper understanding on their situation.
Anti-crime authorities shall have a special role and adequate knowledge regarding individuals with psychologically disorders who are being accused with crime. The former must take proper steps in conducting assessments with the aid of mental health experts with regard to the diagnosis of psychologically-ill individuals. They shall not be deprived from due process of law amidst the disorders that they are suffering, whether it is chronic, severe, or not. Anti-crime authorities shall keep an eye to provide justice to those who are falsely accused of crimes.
Mental health experts and those who are part of mental rehabilitation centers shall cater psychologically-ill individuals with care, empathy and acceptance. The role of the former is a wide range of assistance towards the recovery of psychologically-ill individuals. Whether that may be by means of counselling, prescription of medicines aligning to their diagnosis and proper rehabilitation.
Future Researchers are highly encouraged to give importance and relevance to current justice system, especially which involves individuals who are suffering from psychological disorders. They need understanding and due process of law despite being psychologically challenged.
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Cherry K. (2020). A List of Psychological Disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/a-list-of-psychological-disorders-2794776#:~:text=The%20term%20psychological%20disorder%20is,impact%20multiple%20areas%20of%20life.
Definition of Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/justice
Dimond, Kaplan & Rothstein (2021). Criminal law Legal Terms and Definitions. Retrieved from: https://michellesuskauer.com/criminal-law-legal-terms-definitions/
Farlex Free Dictionary (n.d.) Definition of Unlawful. Retrieved from: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Unlawful
France Penal Code. Retrieved from: https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/3316/file/France_Criminal%20Code%20updated%20on%2012-10-2005.pdf
German Criminal Code. Retrieved from: https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/6115/file/Germany_CC_am2013_en.pdf
Ground A. (2005). Understanding the Effects of Wrongful Imprisonment. Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3488358?seq=1
L. A. Teplin. The prevalence of severe mental disorder among male urban jail detainees: comparison with epidemiologic catchment area program, American Journal of Public Health 1990;80:663–669.
Law Teacher (2019). A Crime Is An Act or Omission Made Punishable. Retrieved from: https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/criminal-law/a-crime-is-an-act-or-omission-made-punishable-by-law-essay.php#:~:text=A%20crime%20is%20defined%20as,as%20violations%20of%20the%20law.
Harvard Law Review , May, 1917, Vol. 30, No. 7 (May, 1917), pp. 724-738
Merriam Webster Dictionary (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anti-crime
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Spain Criminal Code. Official State Gazette number 281 on 24th November 1995. Retrieved from: https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Spain-Criminal-Code-1995-eng.pdf
The Criminal Code of Georgia. Retrieved from: https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/404c5dc11.pdf
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The following are set of words and phrases which are often encountered in our research:
Accused – A person who has been arrested for or formally charged with a crime
Anti-crime authorities – opposing or intended to discourage or prevent crime and especially violent crime anti-crime legislation an anti-crime campaign.
Crime – an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.
Diagnosis – the process of identifying and determining the nature of a disease or disorder by its signs and symptoms, through the use of assessment techniques (e.g., tests and examinations) and other available evidence.
Due process of Law – is the legal requirement that requires the state to respect all the legal rights owed to a person. Due process balances the power of the state and protects
Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice. the moral principle determining just conduct.
Laws – the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties; is a set of rules created by state institutions which make laws through the authority of the state. The laws have sanctions which are recognized by the state and enforced by state-authorized bodies.
Mental health experts – These mental health professionals may also help assess and diagnosis mental health conditions. Psychologists. Counselors, Clinicians, Therapists. Clinical Social Workers. Psychiatrists. Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. Primary Care Physicians. Family Nurse Practitioners. Psychiatric Pharmacists.
Psychologically-Ill individuals – Person with a mental illness” or “Person living with a mental health issue” People with mental health issues have far more sides to them than their mental illnesses.
Psychological disorders – used to refer to what is more frequently known as mental disorders or psychiatric disorders. Mental disorders are patterns of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple areas of life. These disorders create distress for the person experiencing these symptoms
Rehabilitation – the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.
Unlawfulness – Contrary to or unauthorized by law; illegal. When applied to promises, agreements, or contracts, the term denotes that such agreements have no legal effect. The law disapproves of such conduct because it is immoral or contrary to public policy.
It is a great opportunity for the group to research and enhance knowledge about the role of mental health experts and anti-crime authorities in resolving the unlawfulness charged against psychologically-ill individuals. In the duration of doing the research study, the group would like to extend their immense and deepest appreciation to the people who made this research study possible. The study would not have come to reality without the people that had helped them during the research.
First and foremost, the researchers would like to express their deepest gratitude to Almighty God for the wisdom and knowledge bestowed upon them, for the endless support and blessings given, this study will not be made possible without Him. The researchers offer all of the fruits of their labors to the glory of God.
Second, the researchers would like to extend their sincerest appreciation to their legal research professor, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue for imparting her knowledge, expertise, and burning passion to take part and contribute to making the study successful. The researchers are beyond grateful and fortunate for all the support given to them.
To the interviewees, Chief Prosecutor Maria Theresa Ditching, Marylou Benueza-Saban, PhD, RGC, LPT, Dr. Sheila A. Javier, RGC, RPm, Mr. Jarry Villanueva, psychiatric nurse at Mental Health Center Bacolod City, they are the “secret tool” for the development and completion of the research study. The researchers would like to express their sincerest appreciation for sharing their time, expertise, and knowledge in making it clear to them the role of mental health experts and anti-crime authorities in resolving the unlawfulness charged against psychologically-ill individuals, without them this research would not have been made possible.
To the researchers’ families, for their time, effort, unconditional love, and unequivocal support in making the research study, for which their mere expression of thanks does not suffice.
International Laws Relevant to the Research Study
The New York Statute on the responsibility of an idiotic or lunatic is as follows:
An act done by a person who is an idiot, imbecile, lunatic or insane is not a crime.
A person is not excused from criminal liability as an idiot, imbecile, lunatic or insane person, except upon proof that, at the time of committing the alleged criminal act, he was laboring under such a defect of reason as:
- Not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or,
- Not to know that the act was wrong.
Massachusetts. The Supreme Judicial Court in I905 accepted the following jurisprudence:
“In order to constitute a crime, a person must have intelligence and capacity enough to have a criminal intent and purpose; and if his reason and mental powers are either so deficient that he has no will, no conscience, or controlling mental powers, or if, through the overwhelming violence of mental disease, his intellectual power is for the time obliterated, he is not a responsible moral agent, and is not punishable for criminal acts.”
The Supreme Judicial Court in 1914 announced the following approved the following jurisprudence in cases where the defense is insanity:
“If then it is proved, to the satisfaction of the jury, that the mind of the accused was in a diseased and unsound state, the question will be, whether the disease existed to so high a degree that for the time being it overwhelmed the reason, conscience, and judgment, and whether the prisoner, in committing the homicide, acted from an irresistible and uncontrollable impulse: If so, then the act was not the act of a voluntary agent, but the involuntary act of the body, without the concurrence of a mind directing it.”
Illinois. The existing Illinois statute, which was enacted at least as early as 1827, reads as follows:
“A lunatic or -insane person, without lucid intervals, shall not be found guilty of any crime or misdemeanor with which he may be charged: Provided, the act so charged as criminal shall have been committed in the condition of insanity.”
Revised Penal Code of Georgia
Article 34. Release from Responsibility for Mental Illness
1. Criminal liability for the illegal action provided under this Code shall in no way be imposed upon the person who, due to chronic mental illness, temporary mental disorder, imbecility or any other mental disease, was unable to comprehend the illegitimacy of his/her action or, although could comprehend, could nevertheless, not act otherwise.
2. The court may apply any of the medical measure of coercion provided by this Code to the person released from responsibility.
3. No criminal liability shall be imposed upon the one who committed the relevant consequence of the Corpus Delicti at the condition of full legal responsibility but had become mentally ill before the deliverance of sentence wherefore cannot control or guide oneself. In such case the court may award a coercive measure of medical character and after the recovery such person may be punished.
Spanish Criminal Code
Article 20 The following persons shall not be criminally accountable:
1. Those who, at the time of committing a crime, due to any mental anomaly or alteration, cannot comprehend the unlawful nature of the act, or to act in line with that comprehension.
A transitory mental disorder shall not cause exoneration from the punishment when provoked by the subject in order to commit the offence, or when he would or should have foreseen that it would be committed.
Criminal Code of Canada
Defense of mental disorder
- No person is criminally responsible for an act committed or an omission made while suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong.
Every person is presumed not to suffer from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility by virtue of subsection (1), until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities.
France Criminal Code
A person is not criminally liable who, when the act was committed, was suffering from a psychological or neuropsychological disorder which destroyed his discernment or his ability to control his actions.
A person who, at the time he acted, was suffering from a psychological or neuropsychological disorder which reduced his discernment or impeded his ability to control his actions, remains punishable; however, the court shall take this into account when it decides the penalty and determines its regime.
German Criminal Code
Section 20 Insanity
Any person who at the time of the commission of the offence is incapable of appreciating the unlawfulness of their actions or of acting in accordance with any such appreciation due to a pathological mental disorder, a profound consciousness disorder, debility or any other serious mental abnormality, shall be deemed to act without guilt.
INTERVIEW QUESTION GUIDE:
- What are the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual effects of wrongfully indicting a psychologically-ill individuals?
- What can be the effects of exposure to an isolated, threatening and dire environment such as the prison to a psychologically-ill individual’s health (mental and physical). How about the effects to their immediate family?
- Based on records, how often are psychologically-ill individuals wrongfully indicted in courts? What could be the possible reason for a wrong conviction?
- What can mental health authorities do to help in lessening the possible effects of wrongful conviction to psychologically-ill individuals? Are the mental facilities in Negros sufficient to cater all the needs of these individuals?
- What are the roles of anti-crime authorities in resolving unlawfulness? What are the possible recalibration to the laws of country in order to prevent wrongful accusations?