The 39A Podcast [Episode 4]: Dr. Soumitra Pathare on Mental Health and Criminal Justice


[Dr. Pathare] The evidence, what
does evidence say, studies across the world show us that people with mental illness are
more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrators of crime. [Maitreyi] Welcome to another episode of the
39A podcast. This is Maitreyi Misra from Project 39A and
we are a criminal justice program based out of National Law University, Delhi. For this episode we are in Pune, in conversation
with Dr. Soumitra Pathare, consultant psychiatrist and Director, Centre for Mental Health, Law
and Policy at the ILS Law College, Pune. Dr. Pathare has helped draft the new Mental
Healthcare Act of 2017 and the National Mental Health Policy for India. In today’s conversation we will talk about
criminal law and its relatively uncomfortable relationship with mental health and delve
into the field of forensic mental health Dr. Pathare, thank you for joining us for
the 39A podcast! [Dr. Pathare] Thanks Maitreyi! Thanks for inviting me! [Maitreyi] Today we will talk about assumptions
of rationality and capacity that criminal law has vis-a-vis persons with mental illness. And the first question I’d like to ask you
is that, criminal law makes a benevolent exception for people who are not “rational” or can’t
think and act “rationally”. Take the example of the insanity defence where
the person has to establish that they did not have the capacity to understand the nature
and consequences of their actions because of unsoundness of mind. Are persons with mental illness not rational
beings then? [Dr. Pathare] So there are two concepts here
which we should really look into. One is obviously the concept of mental capacity,
which means do people have the capacity to make rational decisions as you said and the
second concept which the unsoundness of mind really alludes to is the notion of legal capacity
and I think we need to unpack both these issues. Mental capacity is a really complicated issue. I think judges as well as lawyers and the
legal fraternity somehow have this notion… that medical professionals or health professionals
or psychiatrists… or mental health professionals are able to have some kind of a test by which
they will arrive at and say you have mental capacity or you don’t have mental capacity. Now that’s not absolutely true. You know mental capacity is much more complicated
than just an on/off switch. So, for example, somebody who has a… a woman
who has a mental illness may lack capacity, let’s say, to do a job but she might completely
have the capacity to look after her children. So the mere fact that she has no mental capacity
should not mean she doesn’t get custody of her child. The judiciary and legal professionals need
to understand this complex interplay within mental capacity itself and between mental
capacity and legal capacity. And legal capacity is not necessarily equivalent
to not having mental capacity. You know you can still be a legal person. So unsoundness of mind presumes a kind of
lack of legal capacity because you are of unsound mind, now you are not being held liable. But unsoundness of mind also fluctuates with
time. You know you might be unsound mind now but
you might be of sound mind later, within a few hours for example. In fact I.. I think a good example in the Indian laws
is from the Contracts Act which uses an example and says that somebody who is under the influence
of alcohol is of unsound mind when they are under the influence of alcohol and so the
contract signed at that time would not be regarded as being valid but they could be
of sound mind afterwards. And on the other hand, it says that somebody
who is in a mental asylum… might be of sound mind and might have periods of sound mind
when they are able to sign a contract which would be regarded as valid. So that’s a good example of how people with
mental illness will have periods when they are of sound mind. And so this notion of a kind of yes/no kind
of a phenomena that the judiciary and law requires mental health professionals to do
on capacity is really problematic… both on the capacity issue as well as the unsoundness
of mind issue. And… and we also have to remember one more
thing about unsoundness of mind, the notion of unsoundness of mind is that it’s not
just mental illness which cause unsoundness of mind but even if somebody’s got, had
a, let’s say a road traffic accident and they’ve damaged their brain and they are
in a vegetative state, then by definition they are of unsound mind. So, unsoundness of mind is more than mental
illness. It doesn’t map equivalent to it. Unfortunately, our judiciary has kind of equated
unsoundness of mind with mental illness because the word ‘mind’ has come in I think and
that creates all sorts of problems. [Maitreyi] What you’re saying then is that
what the law wants of mental health professionals in terms of saying whether a person has capacity
or whether a person is of sound mind is not really possible in the realm of mental health. So are you then saying that a mental health
professional would not definitively, able to say, be able to say that a person has or
does not have capacity? [Dr. Pathare] I think the question needs to
be more specific. “Does this person have the mental capacity
to do xyz?”; not a broad concept of does this person have mental capacity. You know, because all people at all times
will always have some areas of life in which they won’t have mental capacity. I mean, one of the things that we always talk
about capacity is that capacity tends to be task specific. So, you know, you have capacity for doing
a particular task… so it’s task-specific. And it also tends to be time-specific, so
that I may not have capacity just now but I might have capacity later. So I think legal professionals also need to
start asking the right questions to get the right sort of answer. You know, when mental health professionals
do capacity assessments we know that those capacity assessments are not completely reliable
at times. You know, there’s a certain thing where
they may not work properly, they might not be exact. So, it’s important to keep in mind that
these are not exact sciences in the way that you would think of diabetes and blood sugar
levels. And so that capacity question when it’s
being answered, you need to remember that it’s being answered by the professional
for a particular point in time with a particular examination being done. And it’s almost rare…unless you are in
a vegetative state, it’s almost rare that people will have no capacity at all. So you can’t use the mental illness label
as a proxy for capacity. And I think that’s the important thing that
legal professionals need to understand. As far as unsoundness of mind goes and legal
capacity goes, I mean, that’s really not even a medical question, that’s not something
health professionals should even be answering…that’s a…that’s a legal question. And my point is that whether you have any
kind of disability or not, your legal capacity should never be taken away from you. You know, you should still be recognised as
a legal person. What happens when you say somebody’s got
unsoundness of mind, our laws basically take away your legal capacity, which means the
law no longer recognises you as a legal person and, you know, that creates a whole host of
problems and deprivation of rights that happens. So, I think it’s very important not to do
that. [Maitreyi] So, let me give you an example
from criminal law. Now in the insanity defence, if the law can
determine that I did not have the capacity to understand the nature and consequences
of my actions, I will be acquitted. But, what you’re saying is that it is difficult
to determine that, which then, in turn, means that the threshold is very high. But, at the same instance, you’re also saying
that capacity can vary. So, in your imagination as a mental health
professional, as a psychiatrist, how should the law take account of situations like this,
where in…if I can use the term, in my reduced capacity if I commit a crime… How do you think the law can truly understand
how to accommodate for that? [Dr. Pathare] See that’s a…that’s a
good point you raise. I think one of the problems with the way the
law is structured…two problems with the way the law is structured just now, I think
creates problems for people with mental illness. First is…it’s an all or none thing. So that if you are deemed to have…not have
capacity then you are acquitted. You know, you are seen as… getting away
with it. And I think that creates a problem because
that…that then results in the second problem which is, you set a threshold which is so
high because you don’t want people to get away with it. So you set an impossibly high threshold which
nobody can then meet, which requires you to have no capacity at all. Now that again doesn’t match with the reality
of life which is that nobody, except if you are in a vegetative state, will have no capacity
at all. The second problem is what you’re doing
is, you’re asking…the law says that you… did not have capacity at the time you committed
the crime and I’m going to be examining you maybe months or years after that. And you are asking me to make a retrospective
judgment that this person did not have capacity at that point in time. Now we are very bad at doing even prospective
assessments and saying whether you have capacity today or not. If you ask me to make a retrospective assessment
of one year ago, “Did you have capacity when you did that?” Now that’s a really complicated thing. It starts to get more and more difficult…
and so even if I did say… he didn’t have capacity at that point in time, my testimony
would naturally be weak and it would be easy for somebody to destroy that and say, “How
can you be so sure?” I can’t be sure, and that creates another
problem. So, I think…I think a better solution would
be to get away from the whole notion of an insanity defence and to rather use mental
illness or the fact that people might have impaired capacity… let’s use the word
impaired capacity rather than lack of capacity. And that if people have impaired capacity,
either it’s because of mental illness or any other condition, it could also be because
of social conditions, it doesn’t always have to be a medical condition. Why don’t we say if people have impaired
capacity, they are more vulnerable and because they are vulnerable, you provide them with
some mitigation for that, you know. I think that’s what we should be looking
at. Can we think of mitigation for people who
have impaired capacities? Can we think of what support can we provide
them so that they get that? For example, let’s say if you thought this
person has impaired capacity and so may not be able to stand trial because he may not
understand the process of trial. So can we change… can we put support in
so that they are able to understand the process of trial? That they get somebody who helps them… make kind of adequate decisions and be able
to justify what they did and so that they are able to defend themselves. [Maitreyi] So initially you had said that
the law is skeptical of the defence of insanity because it doesn’t want people to get away
with… the thing that they have done. Do you think, then, there is a possibility
that people can act mad to get away with crimes that they may have committed? [Dr. Pathare] That’s a good question. I mean , to be honest, if you ask any mental
health professional, they’ll tell you that it’s extremely difficult to fake illness,
and especially fake mental illness and for a period of time. I know that might seem odd to you but you
just have to look at so much of Indian films to realise how… what is presented as madness
is so fake itself that any mental health professional would pick it up immediately. And for people to be able to fake illness,
they actually need to understand how mental illness operates. And that’s one of the reasons why bollywood
depictions of mental illness are so poor is because they have actually no experience of
mental illness from either side of the table- either as a person with mental illness or
somebody who treats people with mental illness. And so what they create is what they understand
as a stereotype of how a person with mental illness will act… and…and which clearly
is very fake. So in fact, I don’t…I don’t think that
people can fake mental illness and get away with it. [Maitreyi] Since you said it’s not impossible,
are there ways to detect when people are faking their illness? Are there tests? [Dr. Pathare] There are no specific tests
which will detect that you are faking illnesses. There are some tests which would pick up what
is called as a ‘fake bad profile’. You know the test has a way of checking that
are you marking everything badly just to make yourself look bad. So some tests will do that and pick up when
you are being fake bad, in a sense. But broadly speaking, I only said it’s not
impossible only because nothing in the world is impossible… It’s very improbable… and… it’s quite
difficult… to over a period of time get away from mental health professionals and
that’s why if you… if you know mental health professionals when they are asked to
assess capacity, you’ll realise that they will always ask for an extended period of
assessment. They will say they want to assess someone
for 7 days or 10 days, they will say, “We want to have collateral information. I want to talk to the relatives, I want to
see their old notes.”, And the reason is because you want to do this kind of a comprehensive
assessment to prevent any kind of faking. If you ask…if you ask somebody to assess
someone for an hour and say with certainty that they are not faking it. It’s very difficult, because, you know,
you can carry on a fake charade for half an hour, an hour but the idea is that if you
can do it over an extended period of time and especially if I as a mental health professional
have access to all other information, including collateral information, that’s very important. So, I think…I think…you know, legal professionals,
and especially judges and lawyers, both need to understand that asking a mental health
professional to do an assessment is a… is a complicated and lengthy process. And just…and at the end of which you’ll
only get a ‘balance of probabilities’ answer. You’ll never get a certainty answer. So actually you should be asking yourself,
“What are the questions we want to ask the mental health professional?” I..I get frequently asked to do an assessment
for the court. Now the problem with that is if you don’t
tell me what I’m doing the assessment for, what are the questions that you have that
you want me to answer, how do I give you an answer? It’s a bit like telling me to write an answer
but telling me…not telling me what the question is. That creates all sorts of problems. So, I prefer courts which will actually say
look, these are our questions. Here is question number one, two, three and
I want you to try and answer that. Then I can at least whether I can answer it
or can’t answer it and then I can then answer it with a certain degree of certainty. [Maitreyi] So when you say the right kinds
of questions, I’m assuming the questions would differ from the context in which they
are asked. So, could you give an example of some of these
questions that you have been asked? [Dr. Pathare] So when I mean… when I say
right kinds of questions, I’ll tell you what I mean. Like for example, one question could be- “Does
this person have a mental illness?” That’s a simple question but it’s an important
question. “Did this person have a mental illness,
when this crime was committed?” Now, that’s a difficult question for me. But I can give you some balance of probabilities
answer. I can say that based on the information I’ve
collected, based on the past treatment history it appears that at that point in time, he
probably had a mental illness. Third question could be, “Do you think that
this person, when he was doing this act, at that point in time, did he have the capacity
to do it?” Now that’s an even more speculative question. And I would have to answer it much more speculatively. So now all these questions I’m giving you,
three examples of questions which I can answer with certainty and questions which I cant…
totally can’t answer with certainty. And if I do that and if you ask me these questions
in this way, then I’m actually assisting the court arrive at some decision. Otherwise if you just send a… very often
the…the court will send a request saying we want a mental health assessment. A mental health assessment really is not helping
the court or helping me in any sort of way… I think the courts need to actually apply
their mind and say what is this question that we want this expert witness to answer which
we can’t answer ourselves, you know. And sometimes courts are really bad because
they… they will ask questions like, “Can you tell me whether this person is of unsound
mind?” Now, the answer to that is I can never tell
you if this person is of unsound mind because that’s not a job for the mental health professional,
that’s the job for the legal professional to decide. I can tell you if he has a mental illness
or not, I can’t tell you… I can tell you if he has mental capacity or
not. I can’t tell you whether he’s of unsound
mind because that’s not a medical definition anyway. So, I think it’s very important that courts
actually start using expert witnesses as a way of trying to get a better understanding
of what might be happening with this individual at that point in time. [Maitreyi]Just a quick follow-up on this…
especially the last part that you said…about unsoundness of mind. Would a relevant question then be, “Did
the person have a break from reality at that point?” Is that the limited context of ‘unsoundness
of mind’, legally understood, possible? [Dr. Pathare] See again that’s a very…
that’s a very difficult question to answer in a yes/no thing… What do we mean by break from reality? Even somebody who is seriously mentally ill,
very seriously mentally ill, if you went and visited, say a psychiatric hospital where
people are admitted with illness, you’ll notice that they’re not… they don’t
have a ‘break from reality’ 24*7 for everything they do. So, for example, they’re able to get up
and have a meal, they’re able to look after themselves as in, go and have a shower and
have a bath. Now, you could argue that if they are able
to do that, there is no break from reality. So I think there are stereotypical understandings
that people have about what a ‘break from reality’ means. So, if somebody could have problems with reality
but it’s not with everything that they do on a daily basis, my worry is that courts
try to apply that standard. Only way to prove he has a break from reality
is, “Oh he went and had a bath this morning and he asked for his breakfast, that proves
he has no break from reality.” Now that’s a very…that’s… I would say that is a very wrong way of going
about it. Even somebody who is seriously ill will be
able to do many things at some points in time and not at other points in time. [Maitreyi] Speaking of breaks from reality
and the law’s understanding of what that looks like, there was a case in 2012 in Poonaitself
where there was a bus driver who had killed… nine… people and injured many others. He…He was sentenced to death by the Trial
Court and the High Court and he has recently been… commuted to life imprisonment. Now, he had taken the defence of insanity
at that time during the trial. In this case, the court rejected the insanity
defence and it lists certain behaviours of his as reasons to say why he was not insane. Some of them are: The driver knew what he was doing at the time
of the incident because he was able to drive a bus. When he encountered barriers, he knew what
to do and reversed the bus, And also hit one of the persons who was trying to stop him. It takes all of these as evidence of the accused’s
faculties not being impaired and lists some of them as reasons for the heinousness of
the crime. What would your take on this be? [Dr. Pathare] I would respectfully disagree
with that interpretation of the court. I think that people even with serious illnesses,
like schizophrenia, for example, are able to do lots of normal functions. I mean in… to give you an example from popular
literature, which actually is a good example… is, take ‘The Beautiful Mind’, you know…
the story about John Nash. Clearly John Nash had impaired reality, had
a… a serious illness but was able to probably write one of his best scientific thesis which
won him a Nobel Prize. Now so do you say he is impaired or you say
he’s not impaired. He’s clearly impaired. He’s impaired because of his illness, his
reality testing is difficult but if you just took the fact that he wrote a great mathematical
thesis to then say, “Oh! There’s proof that if he can write such
a seriously high-level mathematical thesis which wins him a Nobel Prize, then he is not
impaired” would be a real fallacy to do that… Let’s take the famous Hannibal Lecter that
everyone talks about. Hannibal Lecter is impaired, has…has a mental
health problem of some kind but is clearly able to plan things. He’s able to plan, he’s able to action
his plans. So, the fact that somebody is able to do something
at a certain point in time does not necessarily mean they are not impaired and vice-versa. Whereas I think if we took a different approach,
it would actually help. If we took the approach that we acknowledge
that the fact that they have a mental illness or that they have some form of ‘unsound
mind’ is some kind of a disability, it’s a vulnerability, it’s an impairment, and
we then adjust that when we are using it for sentencing or for mitigation. But not say that, “Oh! you’ve now been…
completely acquitted.” Because that makes no sense. And…and that’s why in some jurisdictions,
what I like is… is that they don’t come up with a decision which says ‘not guilty
by reason of insanity’ but they say ‘guilty but insane’, which I think really is closer
to what it should be like. So, they… they actually acknowledge the
fact that this person has done something which is a criminal act but because of some kind
of impairment of their faculties, mental faculties, we are going to not hold them as liable as
you would hold other people. And I think if we move to that then you’re
able to bring the threshold down. You are able to… Because people are not getting away with it. [Maitreyi] So to briefly encapsulate what
you said, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying the questions of capacity, illness
should be on a grade and the law should accordingly adjust vis-a-vis that and if required provide
support to the person in order for them to access justice effectively while also not
impairing or hampering their right to a life with dignity, if one could say that. [Dr. Pathare] Absolutely! Absolutely! I mean…If…if, you know, if somebody came
to me… sometimes lawyers ask me, “Should we take the insanity defence?” and my advice
is in the Indian context, never take the insanity defence. It is the worst decision to make. If we take the insanity defence, let’s say
before the trial stage, what’ll happen is that you’ll be found not fit for trial which
means you’ll go into…go into a mental health hospital. And there are so many instances that people
are never found fit for trial and so they never undergo trial and they spend the rest
of their lives never having undergone trial… in a locked setting… And they might be actually… not guilty. You know, if they’d undergone the trial,
they would have been found not guilty. So I think it’s…it’s just not worth
it. So anyone who says that take an insanity defence,
I think you have to be really desperate. And you’d really have to have that problem
to take an insanity defence. At least in the Indian context, because you
have nothing to gain by taking an insanity defence. Even if you took the insanity defence at the
sentencing stage, what’ll happen is the courts will end up sentencing you for life
without remission or something like that. So you know there’s really no gain on the
insanity defence. [Maitreyi] Related to depictions in media,
you gave the example of Hannibal Lecter which is similar to what the High Court had spoken
about the Pune bus driver case; there is an element of dangerousness attached to persons
with mental illness. Are persons with mental illness dangerous
people? [Dr. Pathare] Let me phrase it this way- Are
people without mental illness dangerous people? And as dangerous are people without mental
illness, in fact less dangerous are the people with mental illness. And I… I say that with evidence. If you look at the evidence, what does the
evidence say? Studies across the world show us that people
with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrators
of crime. Let’s take the example in our country. For example, we… if we have, let’s say
1000 murders in a year, maybe only one or two of those is where mental illness is involved. The remaining 998 murders are actually caused
by people who are not mentally ill. So the fact is that if you look at all of
the data, people with mental illness are less likely to commit crimes than people who are
not with a.. with mental illness. But we don’t associate that with dangerousness. So I think these are… these are some stereotypes
which are historical, which have grown on to us for a long time and it’s time to question
those stereotypes. Unfortunately media makes it worse. So media… media will not talk of the 999
other murders as being caused by normal people but the one murder where there’s mental
illnes involved, they will highlight the fact that “He was mentally ill when he did it!”
and I think that creates a kind of unnecessary stereotype. [Maitreyi] Speaking of stereotypes, another
stereotype of a mental health professional is that they can… talk to a person and analyse
their mental state and mental condition and predict whether they are going to be dangerous. And… that is a notion very much involved
within the criminal justice system of a person who can be dangerous. Can mental health professionals actually predict
dangerous behaviour? [Dr. Pathare] Well, if you look at the evidence
again, you know research studies show that, psychiatrists or mental health professionals
are not any better than the average person at predicting dangerousness… Nor are they any better at predicting, for
example, suicide risk. So this whole issue of risk assessment is
based on a popular understanding that psychiatrists are able to see through you. It’s like I can open your mind and read
into it what is there. I wish I could do that but you can’t. I mean, psychiatrists are no better. If you decide you are not going to let me
know what you’re thinking of, there is no way I can try and find that out. [Maitreyi] So mental health professionals
cannot predict risk? [Dr. Pathare] Mental health professionals
cannot predict risk any better than anybody else. [Maitreyi] Related to criminal psychology…
is forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry in a manner in that both deal with the ‘criminal’
and you have worked as a forensic… in a forensic psychiatry setting. Can you talk about that a little bit and what
role do you see mental health professionals playing in a criminal justice system? Whether as a forensic psychiatrist or as a
person studying criminal psychology or in any other way? [Dr. Pathare] One of the things that has always
struck me is this kind of artificial divide that we have… between people like me who…
who largely do human rights, mental health and law, on one side and the whole field of
forensic psychiatry on the other side. And it seems like they are like… they are
like completely independent of each other. And…and what they map onto into the legal
field is that people like me, who’d largely be concerned with civil laws whereas forensic
psychiatry would deal with criminal law. And I think that’s a division even within
law which is quite independent. I… It’s… It’s unfortunate, and I think we should
try and bring these… bring both these areas together, if possible. Because even…even people with criminal behaviour
have human rights and the law needs to protect those rights. Just as much as while you’re protecting
rights, it’s equally try… important to understand where criminal behaviour might
come in and how criminal behaviour happens and that if there are… even people with
human rights, if they are criminally liable, should be held liable. So I think… I think it works on both sides and I think
we need to try and bring these two fields together in some sort of way. Because forensic psychiatry has almost exclusively
focused itself on criminal behaviour by people with mental illness… which is unfortunate
because it should also be concerned about rights issues. It should also be concerned about whether
people are getting a fair trial, for example, which unfortunately is only done by people
who do civil law stuff, whereas the criminal law people don’t do that. So that’s… that’s really my perception
or opinion on this. [Maitreyi] In terms of looking at persons
with mental illness in criminal law, there was recently… a judgment by the Supreme
Court which focuses a lot on severe mental illnesses. Is it that there are only few mental illnesses
which are severe or mental illnesses can be severe, generally? What is… and the law seems to have a fascination
with severity. [Dr. Pathare] You know, I… I read that judgment which you are talking
about when it focused on severe mental illness. I think it’s rather unfortunate. Because actually they don’t… they do define
severe but they do tend to define severe in terms of diagnostic categories as opposed
to severe in terms of just the severity of an illness. So, people from different diagnostic categories
could have a severe illness but they say, “Oh no, only for these diagnostic categories
we’ll call them severe”. Even if the symptom level is mild but they
have a category. So it seems like they have… they are giving
more importance to the category that you are in rather than the severity, but then they
have conflated it with saying severity. I think that that’s unfortunate. I think that… law needs to get away from
this fascination with these simplistic notions of trying to arrive at whether people should
be held liable for their actions or not held liable. With getting a very quick yes/no kind of thing. “Oh severe mental illness- not liable; not
severe mental illness- liable.” This kind of very simplistic way of trying
to answer the question, to saying let’s explore the question much more. Whether they have a severe illness or they
don’t have a severe illness, were they able to actually understand what they were doing,
what was the purpose behind it and even… even otherwise I think if people have a vulnerability
or if people have a disability then you should be taking that into account when you’re
sentencing and for mitigation. Why should… why should severity come into
play? If I have a disability, whether my disability
is moderate, minor or severe, why should that not be taken into account? [Maitreyi] Till now we have been talking about
persons with mental illness who commit crimes, and get into the criminal justice system. One could argue that… the act of committing
crime itself is, what you could call abnormal behaviour and goes to then, “Do people who
commit crimes have a mental illness, because of the abnormality of the behaviour of committing
the crime?” [Dr. Pathare] That’s a bit of a circular
argument. You know it’s like saying, “‘You are
mad because you are bad”, and then you are saying, “you are bad because you are mad.” I mean this is just circular. You know you… we need to separate, if I
can use these popular words, ‘mad’ and ‘bad’ to imply people with mental health
problems and people who commit criminal behaviour then I think we need to separate mental illness
and… bad behavior or criminal behaviour. And both are independently equally likely. So I think…I think, again it’s just drawn
into these stereotypes of… of the notion that people who are different… I think it’s to do with differences, it’s
about othering. We are afraid of things that we’re… you
know… we don’t understand very well and when we are afraid of it then we try to other
it so that we keep it away from it. And then things that are scary are all ‘othered’
together. So, you know, “we are afraid of criminal
behaviour, we are also afraid of people with mental illness.” It’s easy to put them all into one group. Mental illness and criminal behaviour – same
stuff- put it in one pot and we are then satisfied and we tell ourselves that, “Oh now we are
safe”. It’s a spurious notion of safety. [Maitreyi] And we are doubly scared of people
with mental illness who have criminal behavior. [Dr. Pathare] We are doubly scared of people
with mental illness who have… criminal behavior because we always think A+B is equal to twice
the amount, you know, and so we get doubly scared of them. Whereas the reality is… people with mental
illness are less likely to commit crimes, are more likely to be… be victims of crimes
and we have never addressed that actually. People with mental illness are more likely
to be socially excluded, people with mental illness are more likely to have their human
rights violated, people with mental illness are more likely to be chained, secluded, restrained,
now this is the stuff we don’t address. [Maitreyi] On that note, Dr. Pathare, thank
you once again for this enlightening and interesting conversation on an area which is extremely
crucial to criminal law but yet poorly understood by it. [Dr. Pathare] Thank you, Maitreyi! It was wonderful talking to you. [Maitreyi] This is Maitreyi from Project 39A,
NLU, Delhi with podcast producer, Priya Naresh, and technical assistant Ninad Datar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *