November 18, 2010

Special journal issue on adjudicative competencies

  • Should adolescent immaturity be a basis for incompetency?
  • Must sex offenders be competent at civil commitment trials?
  • When is it ethical to evaluate a condemned person's competency to be executed?
  • Is it ethical to assist in making someone sane enough for the state to kill?
  • How should clinicians manage empathy in competency evaluations?
  • Is neuroimaging a help or a hindrance?
  • What are current best practices for detecting feigning?
These are among the cutting-edge ethical, legal, clinical and practical issues addressed in a special issue of Behavioral Science and the Law on adjudicative competencies.

As the above list of questions implies, the landscape for competency determinations is evolving. More people than ever are behind bars. Especially in the wake of drastic budget cuts, many are languishing with serious and inadequately treated mental disorders. For these "wretched souls," notes internationally acclaimed forensic psychiatrist Alan R. Felthous in his introduction to the special issue, the system is often unconscionably unresponsive.

Here, in one place, is a summary of many of today's controversies in this bread-and-butter practice niche. Check it out HERE.

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