NAMI's Position on the Death Penalty
NAMI opposes the death penalty for persons with serious mental illnesses. NAMI urges jurisdictions that impose capital punishment not to execute persons with mental disabilities under the following circumstances: Defendants shall not be sentenced to death or executed if they have a persistent mental disability, with onset before the offense, characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as expressed in their conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. Defendants shall not be sentenced to death or executed if, at the time of their offense, they had a severe mental disorder or disability that significantly impaired their capacity to appreciate the nature, consequences or wrongfulness of their conduct to exercise rational judgment in relation to conduct, or to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law. A disorder manifested primarily by repeated criminal conduct or attributable solely to the acute effects of alcohol or other drugs does not, standing alone, constitute a mental disorder or disability, for purposes of this provision. Sentences of death shall be reduced to lesser punishment if prisoners under such sentences are found at any time subsequent to sentencing to have a mental disorder or disability that significantly impairs their ability to understand and appreciate the nature of the punishment or its purpose, to understand and communicate information relating the death sentence and any proceedings brought to set it aside, or to make rational choices about such proceedings.