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FORENSIC ASSESSMENT

What is Forensic Psychology?  Forensic psychology involves the study of human behavior as it applies to the law and is often used to describe the evaluation and assessment of individuals within a legal context.  Forensic psychology is a broad field of practice with applications in civil, administrative, and criminal law systems.  Forensic neuropsychology involves neuropsychological assessment of brain functioning and behavior in legal settings or with legal applications.

Members of the Clinical Staff of NEOBH with appropriate education, training and experience perform forensic evaluations in both civil and criminal court settings.  These involve evaluations in the juvenile justice and adult criminal court systems.  In Criminal Court, these evaluations include Competency to Stand Trial, Criminal Responsibility, Waiver of Miranda Rights, Waiver to Criminal Court (i.e., juveniles bound over to trial as adults), Competency of Financial Responsibility, and Guardianship. 

While NEOBH may be retained by one party in a criminal or civil case, it is our responsibility and role to assist the trier of fact by providing objective evaluation.  We perform psychological and neuropsychologically-informed evaluations for plaintiffs as well as for the defense and for the Court.  We are committed to performing fair, objective and defensible assessments and evaluations.  

Psychological and neuropsychological test batteries involve sensitive methods for detecting and quantifying abilities, functioning, areas of difficulty as well as psychiatric disorders.  Due to this sensitivity and the forensic context of evaluations, a fair and unbiased assessment also incorporates sensitive measures of response bias to ensure results are likely reliable and valid for interpretation. 

Evaluation of response bias, test validity, and possible contributions of inadequate effort or malingering have become an increasingly critical part of forensic psychological and neuropsychological evaluations.  National surveys of psychologists and neuropsychologists estimate that approximately 30-40% of individuals involved in litigation may not put forth full effort or might consciously exaggerate deficits.  Today's methods and tests have been found to detect rates of invalid effort with a frequency which is very consistent with that expectation.  In our own experience, regardless of referral source, we find this has been true.  

Because NEOBH forensic assessments will be used to make legal determinations, a higher standard is applied, requiring incorporating collateral sources of data such as records or interviews of others, and use of psychological test instruments which include or incorporate measures of response bias and test validity.  Considerable extra time is required for careful review of records and preparation of a detailed report.  Fees are adjusted accordingly.


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