Research article

Remodelling Criminal Insanity

We need to explore the links between insanity and mental disorder, writes Gröning, Haukvik, Morse and Radovic.

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NEW ARTICLE: Gröning et al writes about criminal insanity in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.
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Main content

Mental illness is one of the most significant public health challenges, and also some criminal offenders suffer from severe disorders. The legal doctrine of criminal insanity concerns a criminal defendant's lack of capacity for responsible action and provides an excuse from responsibility and punishment in most countries.

- Although the principle that some severely disordered offenders should not be punished is found in most legal systems, the criteria for criminal insanity continuously stir controversy, explains Professor Linda Gröning.

The Unique Norwegian Model

Gröning is leading the large research project DIMENSIONS. The project seeks to develop the legal understanding of psychosis and how it is related to criminal insanity.

Together with three colleagues from the DIMENSIONS project, Gröning has recently published a new article in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. The article is exploring philosophical, legal, and medical premises of the medical model used in Norwegian law.

- Insanity rules differ among jurisdictions. Norway is a special case, as the legislation incorporates a 'medial model' that identifies insanity exclusively with (sufficiently severe) mental disorder. Whether the disorder influenced the commission of the crime is not relevant, says Gröning.

Underexplored in Legal Research

Gröning, Haukvik, Morse and Radovic argue that the Norwegian insanity model has not been sufficiently explored in contemporary reconsiderations of insanity doctrines.

In the article, they explore this model from a transdisciplinary perspective and show how it can be utilised to reconsider the central premises involved in the insanity debate.

The full article is available open access on: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2022.101776