Morality vs Function – Do you know what the difference between ‘right or wrong’ is?
Whatever your answer is, I bet it’s well geared into your childhood/family and which group (culture, society, nation, neighbourhood) you were raised in. Right or wrong is subjective. Yet this is the distinction between sanity or insanity in many jurisdictions. And it can and does affect your ability to keep your freedom, custody of your kids, job/career path and if caught, where you serve your sentence. And it seems so esoteric. Linked to such questions as
- do you believe in God or the Devil?
- Will you go to heaven or hell?
- Do you attend services?
And some things are situational.
- If you’re poor and hungry, can you steal food?
Just because you’re poor, can someone steal your kids or sterilize you? Or throw you in a cell? The realistic answer is yes, yes they can. And do.
But what about function?
What kind of questions are relevant there?
It’s more along the lines of
(a) life skills
- Do you sleep?
- Are you eating sensibly?
- Do you leave your underage kids home alone?
- Can you manage your own moods?
How long will recovery take?
What was the trigger and what therapies are available?
Are you compliant?
Do you self medicate?
(c) vulnerability/chronic illness & pain
- Is this due to medical &/or mental health issues?
Chronic pain and personality disorders are similar in display, so you need a proper medical work up.
- Would you do better if you were properly supported? And can you access those supports? Have you sought them out?
There are things like waiting lists, ltd resources and poverty. And these often impede a person, no matter how eager they are to comply. Do they get punished for lack of availability? Sadly, yes they do.
We presume that the person being assessed is being tried in their group of origin or a similar one and that isn’t always true.
Which is why it’s critical to include cultural representatives to speak to the morality and situational ethics expected by the group (what is ‘normal’?)
And to use the WHO’s ICD 10/11 tools rather than the DSM 5/6
And the witnesses to their ‘breakdown’ or vulnerability should actually see the person frequently. Have known them for some time. So they can speak to any significant changes. And be someone other than family. Because many of the reasons a person is so frail they are in front of the court are due to their rearing, &/or family distress.
the profiler/ the tests &/or interview
These are dependent on which court is involved and what the allegations are. And interpretation is dependent on the skill of the ‘expert’. But they typically look at history , intelligence and mood stability/perception.