Media Images, Mental Health Law, and Justice: A Constitutive Response to the "Competency" of Theodore Kaczynski

Michael Arena, Alliant University

Constitutive criminology is largely recognized as a postmodern approach to reconceptualizing the way in which society envisions crime. The perspective broadens the definition of crime to include the many forms of harm resulting from the unequal distribution of power. This unique approach provides a prism through which one can analyze and understand the Theodore Kaczynski case and the complex issues it presents for the forensic mental health arena. The constitutive framework provides insight into the way in which media agencies, law enforcement organizations, and the court system have informed and misinformed one another resulting in an aura of "injustice." Furthermore, the paper explores the way in which Kaczynski has been marginalized and subsequently denied his opportunity to express himself through self-representation. Finally, the analysis concludes with an exploration of the implications for future cases of similar high profile status.

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Updated 05/20/2006