Insanity & Assessment Tools Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Sample Essay On Insanity & Assessment Tools


When is someone not responsible for a crime because of their mental illness, this is the question that many forensic psychologists often ask themselves. The forensic evaluation of a legal insanity defense and it often involves a careful analysis of the actions as well as the ideas that lead up to the crime and it coordinating with several witness statements.

There are several psychological assessments that are often taken in order to ensure the insanity of the person. This paper will examine some of these assessment tools as well as look at the a case study where it will determine whether indeed a defendant was insane at the time of the crime.

Insanity and assessment tools

Insanity can be described as a legal concept and not a clinical condition , when a defendant's mental state at the time that they committed the offense is at question, a criminal responsibility psychological evaluation or sanity evaluation are often requested by the court (Grisso, 2003). The basis of an insanity plea rests on the basic premise that the defendant at the time of the crime was not criminally responsible for their actions at the time of the offense due to the influence of a mental illness. The utilization of relevant statutes and psychological testing as well as evaluation to address the criteria that is often necessary for an insanity plea.

The first assessment tool is the irresistible impulse assessment test and it was first adopted in order to determine whether or not a person was insane at the time of the act. The instrument often measures duress of mental disease and whether the person lost the power to choose between wrong and right and that at the time of the crime, the free agency at the time was destroyed and the alleged crime was connected with mental disease, in relation of effects and causes as to have been the product of it solely(Grisso, 2003).

The second assessment tool that can be used in Insanity is the Rorschach test which can be described as a psychological test in which the subject's perceptions of inkblots are often recorded and then analyzed using several psychological interpretation using complex algorithms (Groth-Marnat, 2009). This test is used in order to examine the personality characteristics, emotional functioning and also detect underlying thought disorders.

The defendant was not in his right mind at the time of the crime and consequently he cannot was not able to appreciate the wrongness of his action. At the time of the crime he was also not able to understand the consequences of their actions (Helfgott, 2013). Therefore, the fact is that the defendant at the time of the crime had a mental treatment in addition to punishment for his crime. This can also be seen by his actions in the bank, they do not represent those of a sane man.

The defendant never took the money and ran away and was delusional when he was talking to the police. He also talked about his 250 million dollars that was supposed to be delivered along with his 250 virgin wives. The police further was able to describe the defendant as having poor hygiene, dirty clothes and he also appeared to be homeless. Further, after his arrest, there was the schizophrenia diagnosis and was put under antipsychotic medication.

According to the irresistible impulse assessment it fits the description of the defendant, at the time of the crime he had lost the power to choose between right and wrong and his free agency at the time was destroyed (Helfgott, 2013). Therefore, according to this assessment tool, it can be said that the alleged crime of robbing the bank was connected with the mental disease as it seems to have been the sole product of the insanity. Further through the Rorschach test, it can be seen that the individual was not in the right emotional functioning and was not in the right though order.


Helfgott, J. B. P. D. (2013). Criminal Psychology [4 volumes]. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Grisso, T. (2003). Evaluating competencies: Forensic assessments and instruments. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishe