It is important to note that someone’s mental health can have an impact on their criminal case. It’s true that mental health does have the potential to influence criminal behavior, but having a mental illness does not automatically mean that someone will be violent or break the law.
In reality, those with mental health issues are often more likely to become the victims of violent crimes than others, so that’s something to keep in mind in certain cases.
Mental illness could be influencing a person’s criminal behavior
Sometimes, mental illness may be stirring a person into committing criminal behavior. This is said with the caveat that not all people with mental illnesses are criminal and not all criminal acts are committed due to mental illness.
However, if you have a mental illness, it is reasonable to look into how that illness may have influenced your actions. For example, if you are dealing with a condition like schizophrenia with no treatment available to you, it may make sense for the court to order treatment and to look into alternative sentencing to help you get your life back in order.
Alternatives might be considered in criminal cases involving mental health issues
There is another fact to consider: jails are no place for getting mental health treatment. When someone has a legitimate mental health issue like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or one of so many other health issues, it is reasonable to consider what kind of punishment would fit the situation. Someone with a mental health issue going to jail won’t necessarily help them recover or make them fit to return to their surrounding community upon release. This is why punishment should always be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Your mental health, and its role in a criminal act, should not be ignored. Doing so would ignore a potentially significant factor that may have influenced your situation in the past and could continue to do so in the future. Recognizing what’s going on and finding a way to make a positive change is something that a court may be happy with as an alternative to other, harsher penalties.