Ethical issues in the evaluation and treatment of death row inmates

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;19(5):518-21. doi: 10.1097/01.yco.0000238481.89151.a0.


Purpose of review: To summarize recent ethical analyses of psychiatrists' participation in the evaluation and treatment of death row inmates.

Recent findings: Psychiatric participation in death penalty cases remains highly controversial in the United States, whereas there appears to be a more worldwide consensus that it is ethically inappropriate.

Summary: Psychiatrists working in death penalty settings are functioning in a complex ethical arena, and must consider the implications of their decisions to participate and/or abstain from various activities with great care and attention to the circumstances of the individual cases at hand.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Capital Punishment* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • Criminal Law / ethics*
  • Criminal Law / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Humans
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / psychology
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • United States