SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
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Abstract

Given the limited definition of PTSD in earlier versions of DSM, the pernicious roles of sanism and OCS, and judges’ reluctance to embrace mental disability as a mitigator within the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, PTSD diagnoses have had little positive impact on the criminal sentencing process. The expanded definition of PTSD in DSM-5 may have profound effects on all criminal sentencing. By expanding the range of symptom clusters, DSM-5 makes more defendants “eligible” to seek sentence reductions based on the 2011 amendments to the Guidelines and the statutory criteria for such reduction.

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