Survey of forensic psychiatrists on evaluation and treatment of prisoners on death row

G. B. Leong, J. A. Silva, R. Weinstock, L. Ganzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychiatrists have debated their role in evaluating prisoners accused of capital crimes and in treating prisoners on death row when restoration of competence would result in execution. Despite debate, there are no previous surveys of psychiatrists' opinions on this issue. We sent an anonymous questionnaire to all board-certified forensic psychiatrists in the United States. Of the 456 forensic psychiatrists identified, 290 (64%) returned the survey. Most respondents supported a role, in at least some cases, for psychiatric evaluation of prisoners accused of capital crimes. Respondents were divided on whether or not psychiatrists should treat incompetent death row prisoners if restoration of competence would result in execution. Attitudes about the ethical acceptability of capital punishment were associated with views about the psychiatrists' role but were not determinative in every case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-432
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Volume28
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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