If a juvenile has been charged with committing a crime, the laws and consequences will be different than they would be for an adult. If this juvenile is also mentally ill, the situation will likely be very different than if they were not.
In most cases, if a person is mentally ill, they might not understand exactly what they are doing. Some people might say that it would be wrong to punish them in the same way a healthy person would be punished. Because of this, there are different standards set for children who are mentally ill that have committed a crime.
Treatment or Punishment?
In a lot of countries, the question of how to punish mentally ill offenders arises. The decision has to be made whether these offenders are going to be placed somewhere that they can get proper treatment or somewhere they will receive punishment. Depending on the child’s condition, one option will be better than the other. Sometimes the defendant will receive both treatment and a punishment.
Whether a mentally ill juvenile offender is punished or treated first will differ based on the situation. Some will go to a hospital and get their treatment in a short amount of time and then be discharged to go to jail for their sentence. Others will serve their sentences first and then go to a hospital for their appropriate treatment if it is necessary.
In some cases, mental illness can play a large role in the crime that a person commits. Many mentally ill people cannot be held responsible for their actions. If this is the case, they will be sent to a hospital or a secure facility instead of jail.
If your child is mentally ill and he or she is being accused of a crime, the best thing that you can do is to hire a juvenile defense lawyer that has experience with mentally ill clients. Your lawyer can encourage a mental evaluation of your child and present evidence in court to prove that your child was not responsible for the consequences of his or her actions. If this is the case, your child will be given treatment instead of being punished. If a lawyer cannot prove that your child’s mental illness caused or contributed to the crime, he or she will be punished in a court of law.
For a child with a mental illness who has committed a crime, their punishment will probably not be the same as the punishment for a juvenile offender with no mental illness. In most cases of a mentally ill child committing a crime, they will be sent for treatment and have what they have done explained to them so that they understand what has come out of their actions.