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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Psychologists are frequently called on to provide evaluations, documents, and testimony in legal proceedings. In court, psychological concepts and legal statutes meet. This book provides information about psychological evaluations for the courts that can be understood and appreciated by psychologists and attorneys alike.
Purpose: The main purpose is to explore the common, and yet often different, practices of psychologists and legal professionals. This book is intended to provide rough guidelines on the use of psychological evaluations to assist the courts and to potentially rectify some of the differences and inconsistencies.
Audience: The target audience includes both mental health and legal professionals. It is written by a small group of faculty from both psychology and law programs at major universities who are experienced in these issues.
Features: Whereas the sheer size of this book may seem daunting, it harbors a wealth of information that is easily accessible. The chapters are very practically based, from the introduction to the legal system to the nuts and bolts of running a forensic psychology practice. The major referral questions in criminal forensic psychology are covered (e.g., mental state at the time of the offense and competency to stand trial). Other important forensic topics are also covered, and they include civil commitments, child abuse/neglect and custody, worker's compensation, etc. The book ends with a section on communicating with the courts both in writing and orally, which is very helpful. Each chapter is filled with short subsections that make for quick referencing. Included are tables that summarize key points, as well as sample reports, assessment instruments, and flow charts. Extensive new references have been added to update this third edition. Readers will find a glossary and copious notes at the end along with a complete index.
Assessment: This is an exceptional compendium of issues in forensic psychology. From practical topics, such as managing a forensic practice, to salient clinical topics, such as evaluating for competency to stand trial, the critical aspects of forensic psychology are covered laudably. With new case law, changing statutes, and innovative research, this third edition is a worthwhile update.