Forensic Psychiatry: Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues, Second Edition


Comprehensive and erudite, Forensic Psychiatry: Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues, Second Edition is a practical guide to the psychiatry of offenders, victims, and survivors of crime. This landmark publication has been completely updated but retains all the features that made the first edition such a well-established text. It integrates the clinical, legal, and ethical aspects of forensic psychiatry with contributions from internationally regarded experts from a range of ...

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Comprehensive and erudite, Forensic Psychiatry: Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues, Second Edition is a practical guide to the psychiatry of offenders, victims, and survivors of crime. This landmark publication has been completely updated but retains all the features that made the first edition such a well-established text. It integrates the clinical, legal, and ethical aspects of forensic psychiatry with contributions from internationally regarded experts from a range of clinical professions.

The Second Edition features updates to all current chapters and several new chapters that explore:

  • The genetics of antisocial behavior
  • Disorders of brain structure and function that relate to crime
  • Offenders with intellectual disabilities
  • Older people and the criminal justice system
  • Deviant and mentally ill staff

Although the book focuses on jurisdictions in the UK, a substantial comparative chapter written by an international group from all five continents explores the different philosophies, legal principles, and style of services elsewhere.

This book is an essential reference for specialists and postgraduate trainees in forensic psychiatry but also for general psychiatrists, and clinical and forensic psychologists. It is also an invaluable resource for other forensic mental health professionals, including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, probation service staff, police, attorneys, criminologists, and sociologists.


This book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: A multiauthored book, this is an attempt to address and condense the ever-growing literature regarding offenders and victims in forensic psychiatry.
Purpose: The editors state that the book is intended "to be of practical assistance in the assessment, management, and treatment of offenders with mental disorders and other victims."
Audience: Though penned primarily for those with more advanced knowledge of forensic issues (including those practicing within the justice system), this work might prove useful for anyone interested in the various intriguing and complicated challenges in the subspecialty of forensic psychiatry.
Features: The book is heavily weighted toward U.K. practice, although attempts are made to compare the practice of forensic psychiatry in other countries. Although primarily text, there are occasional tables, graphs, and black-and-white figures to further illustrate information. The book is inclusive, weighty, and informational, but may have slightly exceeded its editors' desire to remain clinically practical given its size. However, it is accompanied by an electronic version which makes it significantly more functional (and makes one wonder why more publishers are not including the electronic version in the purchase price). The book ends with over 150 pages of references and a few useful appendixes.
Assessment: It is difficult to compare this book to others of a similar nature (i.e. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Forensic Psychiatry, 2nd edition, Simon and Gold, (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2010)), given the numerous differences between Europe and other areas of the world related to cultural and social practices, as well as laws which govern the jurisdictions responsible for these populations. Overall, it is a book worth reviewing, but unlikely to be used by North American forensic providers for anything other than occasional reference.
From the Publisher

" … a very comprehensive and thorough review of the whole field of forensic psychiatry. It is a book that every practising forensic psychiatrist would benefit from having. There is no other textbook as comprehensive as this concerned with UK forensic psychiatry: subjects are covered in depth with a vast array of references and articles synthesised. By and large it’s accurate and up-to-date. It’s a real achievement … . Highly Commended."
—2014 BMA Medical Book Awards

Mark R. McClung
This textbook reviews the assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders and the legal and administrative issues of forensic psychiatry in England. The stated purpose is to be a practical guide to the administrative, legal, and clinical aspects of the psychiatry of mentally disordered criminal offenders and of victims. The book is targeted to mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists). It will be useful as a review of concepts and epidemiology data, but it is not written in a manner to be useful as a practical guide for individual clinical problems. The legal and administrative sections of the book focus on British systems, so they would not be very useful for U.S. clinicians. The book contains no color, no photographs, and only a few tables, although they are of good quality. References are generally up-to-date and plentiful, although spotty in a few topic areas. This book serves well as a review and directory of concepts and the current body of knowledge in clinical forensic psychiatry. Its coverage of the relevant legal and administrative systems in the U.K. is comprehensive, but its coverage of U.S. laws and institutions is only cursory. The book excels in adding a section on victimology and in its coverage of sociological and cultural perspectives in criminality. Epidemiologic research is presented more comprehensively than are data related to clinical assessment and treatment. The book also compares laws and facilities for criminals between countries, another unique feature.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340806289
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/27/2014
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1035
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John C Gunn CBE FRCPsych FMedSci Member, Parole Board, England & Wales
Emeritus Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Pamela J Taylor FRCPsych FMedSci Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK

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Table of Contents

Forensic psychiatry
A victim-centred approach
Medical language
Achieving the knowledge and skills
Further enquiry
Criminal and civil law for the psychiatrist in England and Wales
Common law and civil or Roman law
European courts
Court structure, England and Wales
Criminal law in England and Wales
Agencies of the law
Civil law
The Coroner’s court
Mental health and capacity laws including their administering bodies
Human rights legislation
Historical background
Mental capacity
Mental Health Act 1983 amended by the Mental Health Act 2007
Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA)
Legal arrangements in the rest of the British Isles and Islands
Northern Ireland
Military law in the United Kingdom
Isle of Man
Channel Islands
Republic of Ireland
Concluding comments
Forensic psychiatry and its interfaces outside the UK and Ireland
The scope and limits of the comparative approach
The scope and limits of this chapter
National, subnational and supranational legal structures
Controversial issues and shifts in public and professional opinions
Forensic mental health (FMH) services and interventions under criminal and civil law:
Germany and the USA
Forensic psychiatric services and interventions under criminal and civil law:
The Nine Nations (SWANZDSAJCS) Study
Specialist recognition in Europe and SWANZDSAJCS countries
Research in forensic psychiatry, psychology and allied professions
Illustrative cases
Further reading
Psychiatric reports for legal purposes in England and Wales
The forum of the court: Background issues
Constructing a report
The use of reports in criminal proceedings
Civil matters
Examples of other documents which may be consulted
The psychosocial milieu of the offender
Measurement and epidemiology
The natural history of offending
Factors associated with delinquency and offending
Explaining the development of offending
Implications for prevention
Genetic influences on antisocial behaviour, problem substance use and schizophrenia: evidence from quantitative genetic and molecular genetic studies
Basic genetics
Genetic study methods
The genetics of antisocial behaviour, problem substance use and schizophrenia
Theoretical background
Violence as a health issue
Crimes of violence
Disordered and offensive sexual behaviour
Sex offending, sexual deviance and paraphilia
Sex offending by females and adolescents
Psychiatric questions
Risk assessment
Sex offender treatment
Treatment or control
The majority of crime: theft, motoring and criminal damage (including arson)
Recording of crime
Acquisitive offending
Criminal damage
Motoring offences
Disorders of brain structure and function and crime
Expectations and advances: Conceptualization and measurement of brain structure
Epilepsy in relation to offending
Sleep disorders
Amnesia and offending
Brain imaging studies as a route to understanding violent and criminal behaviour
Serotonergic function in aggressive and impulsive behaviour: Research findings and
treatment implications
Implications of current knowledge of brain structure and function for forensic mental
health practice and research
Offenders with intellectual disabilities
Clinical and legislative definitions
People with intellectual disability detained in secure health service facilities in the UK
Crime and people with intellectual disabilities
Theories of offending applied to people with intellectual disabilities
Offenders with intellectual disabilities and additional diagnoses
Genetic disorders, intellectual disability and offending: Genotypes and behavioural phenotypes
Alcohol and substance misuse
Care pathways for offenders with intellectual disabilities
Assessment and treatment of anger and aggression
Assessment and treatment of sexually aggressive behaviour among people with intellectual disability
Fire-setting behaviour among people with intellectual disability
Assessment and management of risk of offending and/or harm to others among offenders with intellectual disabilities
Legal and ethical considerations in working with offenders with intellectual disabilities
Psychosis, violence and crime
Vulnerable to violence and vulnerable to being violent
Psychosis and crime: The epidemiology
Pathways into violence through psychosis: Distinctive or common to most violent offenders?
Psychosis, comorbid mental disorders and violence
Clinical characteristics of psychosis associated with violence
Environmental factors which may be relevant to violent outcomes among people with functional psychosis
Management and treatment
Pathologies of passion and related antisocial behaviours
Erotomanias and morbid infatuations
Persistent complainants and vexatious litigants
Personality disorders
Concepts of personality disorder
Personality disorder assessment tools
How common are disorders of personality?
Clinical assessment and engagement in practice
Causes and explanations of personality disorders
Treatment of personality disorder
Dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD): The rise and fall of a concept
Personality disorder: Some conclusions
Deception, dissociation and malingering
Deceptive mental mechanisms
Pathological falsification
Dissociative disorders
Addictions and dependencies: their association with offending
Other substance misuse
Pathological gambling
Juvenile offenders and adolescent psychiatry
Juvenile delinquency
UK comparisons
Mental health
Pathways of care and the juvenile justice system
Government policy for England
Special crimes
Adolescent girls
Women as offenders
Why a chapter on women?
Women and crime
Women, mental disorder and offending
Services for women
Older people and the criminal justice system
How many older offenders?
What sort of crime?
Associations between psychiatric disorder and offending in older age
Older sex offenders
Service and treatment implications
Theoretical issues
Risk assessment and structured judgment tools
Threat assessment and management
Communicating about risk
Risk assessment and management: Bringing it all together
Principles of treatment for the mentally disordered offender
Creating a therapeutic environment within a secure setting
Occupational, speech and language, creative and arts therapies in secure settings
Pharmacological treatments
Physical healthcare
Psychological treatments
Attachment and psychodynamic psychotherapies
Forensic mental health services in the United Kingdom and Ireland
Cycles in fear and stigmatization: A brief history of secure mental health services
Specialist forensic mental health services: Philosophies and a theoretical model
The nature of hospital security
Specialist community services within an NHS framework
Health service based forensic psychiatry service provision in Scotland
Health service based forensic psychiatry service provision in Northern Ireland
Health service based forensic psychiatry service provision in Ireland
Offenders and alleged offenders with mental disorder in non-medical settings
Working with the police
People with mental disorder in prison
Working with the Probation Service
Working with voluntary agencies
Service provision for offenders with mental disorder in Scotland
Service provision for offenders with mental disorder in Northern Ireland
Offenders and alleged offenders with mental disorder in non-medical settings in Ireland
Ethics in forensic psychiatry
Codes and principles
Teaching and learning ethics
Some contemporary questions
Heuristic cases
The death penalty
Deviant and sick medical staff
The medical power balance
Boundaries and offences
Abuse in institutions
Sexual assault
Clinicide and CASK
Victims and survivors
Learning from victims and survivors
Voluntary and non-statutory bodies inspired by victims
The growing centrality of victims of serious crime in the criminal justice system
Reactions to trauma and forms of post-traumatic disorder
Psychological understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder
From victim to survivor: Help and treatment
From victims to survivors: Conclusions
Appendix 1: ECHR
Appendix 2: MHA 1983
Appendix 3: Experts’ Protocol
Appendix 4: Hippocratic Oath
Cases cited

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