Forensic Psychological Evaluation



Forensic psychology is the application of the science and practice of psychology to the field of law and the legal system. A forensic psychological assessment is conducted to evaluate psychological functioning in order to assist the trier-of-fact in making a legal decision. 


What to expect: 


Forensic psychological evaluations are often requested to address very specific questions. Paper and pencil tests may be a component of the evaluation, though such testing is not always included. A thorough interview and collateral information are key elements to a forensic evaluation. The results of the evaluation can be provided, usually to the referring attorney and/or court, in written and/or verbal feedback. Testimony can also accompany an evaluation.  


Additional information:

Examples of forensic evaluation referrals include:  

Criminal forensic evaluations:


  •   Criminal responsibility
  •   Diminished Capacity, Extreme Emotional Disturbance 
  •   Trial competence
  •   Other issues of competence and/or capacity (e.g., to waive Miranda rights, to waive counsel, to be executed)
  •   Juvenile waiver evaluations
  •   Risk assessment (e.g., for pretrial secure placement, for placement post-adjudication, pre-sentencing assessment, probation and parole evaluations)
  •   Capital mitigation
  •   Parental capacity 


Civil forensic evaluations:


  •   Fitness-for-duty (e.g., law enforcement, military personnel) 
  •   Testamentary capacity
  •   Guardianship/conservatorship 
  •   Competence to consent to treatment/research
  •   Risk assessment for sex offender recidivism  
  •   Independent Medical/Psychological Examinations