Unlocking the Mysteries of the Mind With Forensic Evaluations

January 16, 2014

Forensic Evaluations in NYCForensic psychology is a fascinating field that allows professionals to work their way into the minds of criminals. A forensic psychologist in NYC can perform one of the forensic evaluations listed bellow to learn more about a defendant. There are three primary types of evaluations that can be used by a forensic psychologist. Guidelines for these evaluations are set forth by the American Psychological Association.

Competency To Stand Trial
Defendants are required to be able to understand the court proceedings, acknowledge the charges involved in the case and assist their attorney with the defense. Forensic psychologists will evaluate a defendant to determine whether the individual is truly unable to complete any of these tasks.

A mental impairment may render a defendant unable to stand trial. The psychologist is tasked with verifying or disproving that such an impairment exists. The court typically asks that the forensic psychologist evaluate whether the defendant could be expected to regain competency to stand trial in the future. The hearing may be moved to a later date in this case, and the psychologist will be asked to reevaluate the individual to see if changes in mental state have taken place.

Legal Sanity
Everyone has heard stories about people using the insanity defense after committing a crime. Forensic psychologists evaluate a defendant in order to determine whether the individual can be considered legally insane. Someone who is deemed to have a history of mental illness may be put in an inpatient psychiatric care facility for criminals instead of being incarcerated.

It is important to understand that this defense is only valid if a person has an established history of mental illness. Disorders do not have to be previously diagnosed, but a psychiatrist will gather information about a person’s past to determine whether they have displayed signs of mental illness.

Readiness For Release
Inmates who may be released need to by evaluated if their crime involved violence. Forensic evaluations for readiness for release focus on determining whether it is likely for the individual to act violently in the future. A risk assessment is used to make the determination.

Evaluations of inmates who have the opportunity to be released tend to be subjective in nature. Psychologists are given a basic goal of determining whether the individual would be manageable when released into society.

Forensic psychology is a field that focuses on evaluating the mental state of people who have been charged or convicted of a crime. Competency to stand trial, legal sanity and readiness for release are types of evaluations that forensic psychologists perform routinely.

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