Excluding the Vulnerable from Capital Punishment
This chapter discusses the implementation of the safeguards that are meant to protect from execution those who commit capital crimes when juveniles (under the age of 18), who are aged, insane, mentally retarded, or mentally ill, as well as pregnant women and new mothers. The chapter reviews the extent to which these attempts to narrow the use of capital punishment have been adopted in law and been adhered to in practice. Great progress has been made in excluding from the death penalty juveniles and pregnant women. In all countries, the clearly insane are excused because they simply cannot be convicted, but the mentally ill pose a real problem because of failure to diagnose severe mental illness in many countries which do not have an adequate number of professional psychiatrists prepared to work in the forensic field.
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