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Competency to Stand Trial and Conditional Release Evaluations: Current and Potential Role of Forensic Assessment Instruments

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Roxanne Lieb, Mason Burley - May 2011

In response to a 2010 legislative direction, the Institute and DSHS are investigating options regarding the use of mental health assessment tools for two DSHS reports to the courts:

- Competency to stand trial assessments of criminal defendants whose competency is in question, and

- The Secretary’s recommendations to the courts concerning the potential conditional release of criminally insane patients from inpatient treatment.

This document summarizes results of an October 2010 survey of state forensic evaluators concerning their use of assessment instruments. Thirty-one (of the 35) mental health experts who conduct forensic evaluations for the three state psychiatric hospitals (Western State, Eastern State, and Child Study and Treatment Center) responded to the online survey; this represents an 89 percent response rate.

We present three options for assessment strategies and instruments, with advantages and disadvantages of each option. A detailed comparison of instruments is included.

Report ID: 11-05-3401

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