The relationship between dementia and criminal behavior perplexes legal and health care systems. Dementia is a progressive clinical syndrome defined by impairment in at least two cognitive domains that interferes with one's activities of daily. Dementia symptoms have been associated with behaviors that violate social norms and constitute criminal actions. A failure to address a gap in policies that support appropriate management of individuals with dementia reflects a failure in our social obligation to care for those who are most vulnerable amongst us. Categorical protections, informed by precedent models applied to juveniles and individuals with psychiatric illness, could help meet a social obligation to provide protections to individuals with dementia. We propose an approach that integrates affirmative defenses to mitigate criminal liability and sentencing restrictions to prevent cruel and unusual punishment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects
- Health Policy