A decision-making model for pre-sentence evaluations for juveniles
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Taylor and Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
© 2020, © 2020 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. Forensic mental health assessments (FMHAs) are requested by the courts to assist in the sentencing process and can have a major impact upon the life of the person evaluated. Completing these assessments is a core competency for forensic psychologists. However, some FMHAs are undertaken by psychologists who have no forensic training. Despite this, there are no formalised Australian minimum standards to ensure reports are helpful to the courts and reflect sound evaluation methodologies. Drawing upon a critical review of the literature and recent research findings, we propose a 10-step decision-making model for pre-sentence evaluations of juveniles. Our model provides a framework for decision-making and highlights the key elements of an evaluation. The model provides a basis for developing practice guidelines and professional standards. The next step is to test the model in the field to determine its impact on the quality of psychological pre-sentence reports.