Forensic Psychology

Mental Illness and the Law

How often is the insanity defense successful?

Surveys show many people view the insanity defense as an overused tactic exploited by wily criminals and unethical attorneys. Actually, it is used very rarely. An estimated 0.85 percent of cases—that is less than one in 1,000—enter an insanity defense and less than a third of these are successful.


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