Forensic mental health assessment (FMHA) has grown into a specialization informed by research and professional guidelines. This series presents up-to-date information on the most important and frequently conducted forms of FMHA. The 19 topical volumes address best approaches to practice for particular types of evaluation in the criminal, civil, and juvenile/family areas. Each volume contains a thorough discussion of the relevant legal and psychological concepts, followed by a step-by-step description of the assessment process from preparing for the evaluation to writing the report and testifying in court.
Volumes include the following helpful features:
- Boxes that zero in on important information for use in evaluations
- Tips for best practice and cautions against common pitfalls
- Highlighting of relevant case law and statutes
- Separate list of assessment tools for easy reference
- Helpful glossary of key terms for the particular topic In making recommendations for best practice, authors consider empirical support, legal relevance, and consistency with ethical and professional standards. These volumes offer invaluable guidance for anyone involved in conducting or using forensic evaluations.
Reviewer:Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description:This book describes how to conduct competency to stand trial evaluations, as well as how to write reports and testify in court. Part of the Best Practices in Forensic Mental Health Assessment series, this is one of 19 books covering the various areas of forensic assessment.
Purpose:According to the series editors, this book details best-practice standards in conducting competence to stand trial evaluations. They note, "Referral to assess a defendant's fitness for trial is the most frequently requested type of forensic evaluation. The significance of the forensic mental health professional's opinion cannot be overstated, in terms of both the implications for the integrity of the criminal legal process that is to follow, and for the outcome of the trial and the impact of the verdict on the defendant's life.
Audience:The intended audience includes forensic mental health professionals called on "to conduct assessments that are legally relevant, consistent with professional ethics, and use empirically grounded methodology, and to present their findings in an objective, thorough, data-based fashion." Patricia Zapf, associate professor in the department of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has published extensively in forensic psychology. Ronald Roesch, professor of psychology and director of the Mental Health, Law, and Policy Institute at Simon Fraser University, is president-elect of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Service.
Features:An introduction covers legal standards, state statutes, and case law as well as how psychological functioning affects competency along with research findings underlying the whole process. The remainder of the book covers the actual evaluation, from preparation through court testimony. It ends with features such as tests and specialized tools, cases and statutes, and key terms. This practical book also includes case law annotations, best practice hints, and "info" (important information). Four appendixes contain an attorney CST questionnaire; collateral and third-party information; sample notification form; and list of relevant competence-related domains and areas of inquiry. The book is relatively short (211 pages) but speaks volumes.
Assessment:This is an excellent book that provides a concise overview of evaluating competence to stand trial. The authors highlight the most important points and walk readers through the evaluation and testimony process, combining research with practice. Novice clinicians will gain much from the insights in this book, and seasoned veterans will not be disappointed.