A professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, Henry Weihofen, presents a penetrating and inclusive view of the...

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THE URGE TO PUNISH

A professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, Henry Weihofen, presents a penetrating and inclusive view of the problem of mental illness in relation to criminal law in a book drawn from the Isaac Ray Award lectures. Mr. Welhofen tells us what laws have been proposed, what have been in action and how they have been used, how interpreted, how capable of interpretation. He points out that the M'Naughten Rules do not take into account the volitional or emotional but only the conscious cognitive aspect of a person's behavior- and he shows how English juries have actually side-stepped the rule in attempting to judge sanity on their own, the jurists, by ""unfit to plead"" and prerogatives of mercy. He weights the progress of the Model Code presently being worked on against the 1838 Products Rule that Dr. Ray proposed and New Hampshire put into law. The questions beneath the surface which really determine court action are aired. The urge of man to punish for behavior too close to primal drives, the question of disposition that would determine whether corrective- punitive or medical-custodial care is suitable, the fear of people that the individual judged insane and not responsible for his act will soon he free to strike again -- these are some of the points raised for calm consideration. The final appeal for law that respects life (no more death penalty) is a fitting conclusion to a cogent, humane argument.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1956

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1956