Translating clinical findings to the legal norm: the Defendant's Insanity Assessment Support Scale (DIASS)

Giovanna Parmigiani, Gabriele Mandarelli, Gerben Meynen, Felice Carabellese, Stefano Ferracuti

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Insanity definition and the threshold for satisfying its legal criteria tend to vary depending on the jurisdictions. Yet, in Western countries, the legal standards for insanity often rely on the presence of cognitive and/or volitional impairment of the defendant at crime time. Despite some efforts having been made to guide and structure criminal responsibility evaluations, a valid instrument that could be useful to guide forensic psychiatrists' criminal responsibility assessments in different jurisdictions is lacking. This is a gap that needs to be addressed, considering the significant forensic and procedural implications of psychiatric evaluations. In addition, differences in methodology used in insanity assessments may also have consequences for the principle of equal rights for all citizens before the law, which should be guaranteed in the European Union. We developed an instrument, the Defendant's Insanity Assessment Support Scale (DIASS), which can be useful to support, structure, and guide the insanity assessment across different jurisdictions, in order to improve reliability and consistency of such evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number278
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019


We would like to thank Dr. Susanna Radovic, Dr. Jacobus W. Hummelen, and Dr. Giandomenico Dodaro for their helpful suggestions. All the authors received no financial support for this study; meanwhile part of the research performed by Prof. Gerben Meynen was funded by a visiting professor stipend from Sapienza University Rome.

FundersFunder number
Sapienza University Rome


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