Legislative Definition of “Severe Mental Illness” (SMI) in Tennessee:
A defendant has a “severe mental illness,” if he or she has:
(1) Symptoms of psychosis shown by hallucinations, extremely
disorganized thinking, or other significant disruptions of consciousness, memory, and perception that are not attributable solely to repeated criminal conduct or the acute effects of the intentional use of alcohol or other drugs; and
(2) A documented medical history of one (1) or more of the following
mental disorders as diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association:
(B) Schizoaffective disorder;
(C) Bipolar disorder with psychosis;
(D) Major depressive disorder with psychosis; or
(E) Delusional disorder.
At the time of the offense, the condition(s), while not meeting the standard to be found not guilty by reason of insanity, nevertheless significantly impaired the person’s capacity:
- to appreciate the nature, consequences or wrongfulness of his/her conduct, to exercise rational judgment in relation to his/her conduct, or to conform his/her conduct to the requirements of the law, AND
- A disorder manifested primarily by repeated criminal conduct or attributable solely to the acute effects of voluntary use of alcohol or other drugs does not, standing alone, constitute a severe mental illness for the purposes of this provision.
For the current status of Tennesee’s severe mental illness exclusion bill (Senate Bill 1124/House Bill 1455), please visit the Tennessee General Assembly’s website.