Courts in the United States rely on mental health professionals to assess and predict potential violence in individuals with mental illness during all stages of the jurisprudence process, including criminal sentencing, civil commitment, and release from confinement. For the mental health professional, the task essentially translates into using expertise to generate a time-limited estimate of violence risk. Psychopathy, in general, and the antisocial, impulsive, and irresponsible features of this disorder, in particular, have emerged as the strongest predictors of future violence. Still, there are a number of practical and diagnostic factors that limit the application of these concepts to the courtroom. This article discusses issues pertaining to the assessment and diagnosis of psychopathic and antisocial personality traits, reviews research evidence bearing on predictive validity of these traits in violence risk assessment, and outlines practical suggestions pertinent to forensic practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health