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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This is the long awaited second edition of a well-received forensic psychiatry textbook. It is written by many renowned practitioners of forensic psychiatry, mental health law, and neuropsychology, and once again edited by Dr. Richard Rosner of the New York University Medical Center.
Purpose: This book has been updated to keep pace with the ever-changing field of forensic psychiatry. As laws and case laws continue to evolve, the authors attempt to explain the changes and relate court decisions to issues relevant in clinical practice of this complex subspecialty.
Audience: The primary audience is "practitioners of forensic psychiatry, residents in forensic psychiatry, and those preparing for the specialty examination in Forensic Psychiatry. However, the authors also hope it will be relevant to mental health professionals and administrators, correctional mental health providers and administrators, and attorneys, judges, and probation and parole officers."
Features: The book is divided into nine sections and 92 chapters. It begins with historical perspectives of the field and ends with a discussion of landmark cases in forensic psychiatry. The most weighty and clinically relevant section is the seventh, which addresses special clinical issues in forensic psychiatry. Each chapter is written or revised by a well known author within the field, and much of the book has been updated to reflect changes since the first edition was published in 1994. Particularly relevant additions include chapters regarding the liability of the forensic psychiatrist, sexual harassment, adolescent sexual offenders, substance abuse and addiction, as well as a more comprehensive look at the issue of sex offender treatment, risk assessment and the legislation that dictates it. Each chapter includes an extensive list of up-to-date references helpful for exploring a desired topic further.
Assessment: The revisions are particularly important for today's practice of forensic psychiatry and the second edition does not disappoint. Information is presented in a clear and concise manner, making even the unseasoned practitioner better able to understand complex issues. Yet some of the information, especially in the first section, has gone virtually unaltered. Also, while summaries of the landmark cases are quite interesting, they can be simplistic, especially for those in the practice of mental health law. Thus, they should be used only as reference, with consultation of the actual cases for more reasoned explanations. However, this does not distract from the mission of the book. Dr. Rosner's book provides an excellent balance of information and succinctness, proving its value to anyone having contact with the mental health field.