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The etiology of crime is a fascinating area of study that has become more and more popular over the past 10 years. Before criminal psychology became popular, each area of study was kept separate; sociology, criminology (which was strictly sociologically based in the U.S.), psychology, forensics, psychiatry, neurology, victimology, criminal justice systems, and courts. Now, like law enforcement agencies across the U.S., these disciplines have realized how much more successful they can be when they work in collaboration with each other instead of against each other. The standard for legal insanity in the U.S. is based on information from old laws that came from England.

1) Why do you think post-partum depression is not considered a viable defense in America?

2) Why doesn't the American public accept mental illness like any other illness? Will this view ever change? If so, how?

3) Research the Internet for the Andrea Yates case. The jury in the Andrea Yates case was never instructed that if they judged Yates as NGRI she would most likely be sent to a mental hospital and given treatment and not be released for many years. Do you think this information would have made a difference in their ruling? Why or why not?

4) What can you do as a citizen of America to help educate the public about mental illness? Should this be included when we teach our children about discriminating against people who are significantly different from ourselves, whether through physical disability, deformity, learning disability, brain damage, or mental disability?

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