Mental health and homicide in medieval English trials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In medieval England, the crown pardoned persons guilty of homicide if they were found to be mentally impaired at the time of the crime. Judges and juries carefully investigated and described the forensics of mental health defendants in the court record. Those suffering from temporary mental health issues, often a result of an illness, were examined under this same set of laws. Most often the guilty were remanded into the hands of family or those of a keeper, a type of temporary guardian, or they were sent to gaol (medieval incarceration in jail or prison) while they awaited their pardons. Some were kept in gaol until mentally stable enough to return to society. Those cases not dismissed because of an obvious mental health condition (as those of persons with childlike behaviour from birth might be) followed a pattern of having the defendant found guilty of the crime, and, because of a lack of intent, they were pardoned and not physically punished other than possibly spending time in incarceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalOpen Library of Humanities
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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homicide
mental health
offense
human being
correctional institution
illness
Law
lack
Homicide
Medieval Period
Mental Health
time
Incarceration
Person
Crime
Society
Illness
Medieval England
Pardon
Guardian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Mental health and homicide in medieval English trials. / Turner, Wendy J.

In: Open Library of Humanities, Vol. 4, No. 2, 01.01.2018, p. 1-32.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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