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Mental Health Professionals and the Criminal Justice System 

Mental Health Professionals and the Criminal Justice System
Mental Health Professionals and the Criminal Justice System

Reena Kapoor

and Alec Buchanan

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date: 12 August 2020

This chapter provides guidance for mental health clinicians whose patients are involved in the criminal justice system. It describes the typical course for a person with mental illness as he or she progresses through the criminal justice system, with a focus on the various types of psychiatric evaluations that are performed. It discusses the legal basis and essential elements of competence to stand trial evaluations, the legal definition of insanity, jail diversion programs, and presentencing evaluations. The differences between treating clinicians and forensic evaluators in the criminal justice system are explained. Finally, it offers guiding principles and tips for avoiding common pitfalls.

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