Sentencing, Mental Health and

After a finding of guilt, mental health factors may influence criminal sentencing in state or federal courts, for misdemeanors or felonies, by determining the length or type of sentence imposed or whether the court chooses to suspend all or part of the sentence. This entry first discusses the factors considered at sentencing and then outlines the unique role of mental health information. The entry also reviews the potential aggravating and mitigating impacts that mental health may have in sentencing.

Sentencing Factors in General

Sentencing practices are intended to accomplish one or more of the following goals: (a) retribution, (b) deterrence, (c) incapacitation, or (d) rehabilitation. Mental health issues introduce a unique aspect in achieving the goals of sentencing, particularly for rehabilitation. Sentences can be determinate (a finite ...

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