Competence to Stand Trial Evaluations - Just the Basics

 
9781568872032: Competence to Stand Trial Evaluations - Just the Basics

Thomas Grisso offers a superb primer on competently conducting CST evaluations. The step-by-step process from collecting the data to writing your report is presented in a clear and concise manner with appendices to aid further study.
Competency to stand trial evaluations are among the most common forensic evaluation referrals in criminal and juvenile courts nationwide. This title provides a review of the most fundamental concepts and methods for performing these evaluations. It includes the essential legal and conceptual background, how to select the right data-collection methods, a step-by-step process for performing competency interviews and data collection, a framework for interpreting them, and how to write the report.
Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations: A Manual for Practice, was the first text Dr Thomas Grisso wrote on this topic. As in that work, Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations: Just the Basics, is organized according to Grisso's now-classic structure that identifies five components for legal competencies, each leading to five objectives that frame the whole evaluation process in competency to stand trial cases. Beyond those similarities, this new work has been substantially revised to include new case law, new methods, and new guidance based on the latest research on competency to stand trial.
Writing in the style of a senior mentor's advice, Grisso has distilled this process into the least you need to know for performing creditable evaluations and reports. Consistent with its streamlined objectives, this book informs practice that is consistent with the latest methods and research, but it leaves the detailed analyses to other references. This book offers ample direction to resources where you can find that advanced information as you further develop your skills for competent evaluations.
This book is an ideal first-exposure to competency to stand trial evaluations for graduate students, clinicians who are re-tooling for forensic practice, undergraduates who are getting their first look at forensic psychology, as a refresher course on recent evaluation techniques for those already conducting such evaluations & appearing in court, and as pre-meeting reading for participants in competency to stand trial workshops.

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About the Author:

Thomas Grisso, PhD, ABPP, is Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Psychology, and Director of the Law-Psychiatry Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. For over 30 years, his professional work has aimed at improving courts' decisions and mental health professionals' evaluations in legal cases pertaining to juveniles and persons with mental disorders. His contributions bridge research and practice. His research studies of developmental factors related to youths' interrogation and adjudication have influenced US Supreme Court decisions as well as basic policy and practice in our juvenile courts nationwide. His dedication to forensic practice is reflected in his role as Executive Director of the American Board of Forensic Psychology. Dr. Grisso's work has been recognized by awards from the American Psychological Association (1995, Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy), the American Psychiatric Association (2005, Isaac Ray Award), the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2006, honorary fellow), and the American Psychology-Law Society (2012, Distinguished Contribution to Psychology and Law). In addition to his significant works dealing with juvenile justice issues, Dr. Grisso has also authored many other highly regarded titles including Evaluating Competencies: Forensic Assessments and Instruments (2003), Foundations of Forensic Mental Health Assessment (2009; co-author), and Specialty Competencies in Forensic Psychology (2011; co-author).

Review:

Grisso has written another gem. In this concise volume, he guides the reader through a competence to stand trial evaluation, beginning with the legal context and proceeding through data collection and data interpretation. As is typical of his books, Dr. Grisso clearly and articulately describes the nuances of the evaluation process, including the critical topic of how to write a good forensic report for this referral question. The reader gains the benefit of Grisso's many decades of thoughtful intellectual leadership in the field. ---Philip Witt, PhD, ABPP, served as president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) and the examination faculty of the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP).

This easy-to-read, user-friendly volume will prove valuable to novice and more experienced examiners. The uninitiated will benefit from Professor Grisso's discussion of basic issues such as the construct of trial competence, the legal context in which it occurs, the obligations of forensic examiners conducting these evaluations, the strengths and limitations of various competence assessment tools, and effective ways of communicating one's work, findings, and opinions. All examiners will learn much from his discussion of more advanced matters such as how case complexity should figure into judgments about trial competence, consideration of response style, and how to conduct assessments that address a defendant's reasoning and decision making abilities - and go beyond simple assessment of his or her understanding. Also noteworthy are the resource sections at the end of the volume and the examples Professor Grisso employs to make points about assessment of trial competence and the examiner's reasoning process. ---Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

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