The insanity defense is traditionally classified as an excuse defense in contrast with justification defenses like self defense this classification indicates that while the action committed by a defendant was impermissible the actor is excused because of a prevailing condition here insanity. While the insanity defense is a legal doctrine at its heart it is the expression of a moral principle found in societies across time and multiple cultures individuals should not be punished for . Insanity defense a defense asserted by an accused in a criminal prosecution to avoid liability for the commission of a crime because at the time of the crime the person did not appreciate the nature or quality or wrongfulness of the acts
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