Forensic Mental Health Assessments in Juvenile Justice Contexts

Christopher M. King, Lauren Grove, Sarah Hitchcock, Kenny Gonzalez, Amanda Palardy, Nicole Guevara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Psychologists, criminologists, lawyers, and other professionals have made and continue to make important contributions to the structure and functioning of the juvenile justice system in the United States. Within the modern-day juvenile justice system-which generally seeks to be developmentally sensitive and balanced as to accountability and rehabilitation-several issues arise in the processing and management of youth’s cases in juvenile and criminal courts that prompt referrals for forensic mental health assessments. These referred evaluations inform preadjudication (transfer to or from adult court and competence to proceed), adjudication (waiver of Miranda rights and reliability of confession evidence), and postadjudication decision-making (juvenile disposition or adult sentencing). This chapter reviews seminal and contemporary research and legal precedent as relevant to these juvenile forensic mental health assessments. In addition, future directions for research, policy, and best practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Law
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780197649169
ISBN (Print)9780197649138
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • family court
  • forensic mental health assessment
  • juvenile dispositions
  • juvenile justice
  • juvenile transfer
  • juveniles


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