SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah


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.