The organization of pretrial forensic evaluation services: A national profile

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Forensic Psychiatry


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


A survey obtained standardized data to provide a description of the approaches used in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for obtaining court-ordered competence to stand trial and crimial responsibility evaluations. Respondents were forensic mental health administrators and forensic mental health professionals. Data were obtained for variables describing the organizational characteristics of the states' pretrial forensic evaluation systems. A typology of the states' systems was developed, based on their predominant reliance on inpatient versus outpatient approaches and on service providers with court referral catchment areas that were statewide, regional, or local. Five types allowed classification of 43 states. The types are described on the major organizational and functional variables employed in the survey. The traditional practice of obtaining most court-ordered evaluations from a central inpatient facility has been replaced by a number of outpatient models in all but a minority of states. These models are more complex than past descriptions would suggest.

DOI of Published Version



Law and Human Behavior, Volume 18, Number 4, 377-393, DOI: 10.1007/BF01499046.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Law and Human Behavior