This week, The Washington Post published Dr. Frank R. Baumgartner and Betsy Neill’s analysis on the use of the capital punishment on people with mental illness. While the majority of Americas oppose the execution of people with mental illness, Dr. Baumgartner and Neill revealed a number of findings that suggest that the death penalty “actually targets those who have mental illnesses.” Findings suggest that:
- People who are executed have a far higher rate of mental illness than does the general public;
- Between 2000 and 2015, 43 percent of inmates executed had received a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lives;
- People sentenced to death, and especially those who volunteer for execution, are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal tendencies; and
- Childhood trauma and abuse were common among those sentenced to death.