Forensic assessment is the evaluation of an offender’s mental health or psychological functioning in order to answer a specific question posed by the legal system. The law sometimes allows and/or mandates different responses from the system as a result of an offender’s cognitive and mental health functioning. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute a person with intellectual disability. Evaluation of an offender’s diagnosis or functioning in a situation such as this needs to completed by qualified mental health professionals, making forensic assessment one of the clearest intersections between psychology and the law. This entry details the differences between forensic assessment of offenders and general mental health assessment and introduces common types of forensic assessment.

The Forensic Assessment Context

The ...

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