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Law & Psychiatry Program

Research in the Law & Psychiatry Program

Faculty of the Law and Psychiatry Program engage in research activities that pertain to forensic or justice-related issues.  During its 25 year history, the Program’s most important studies have made major contributions in several areas:

  • the relation of mental disorders to offending
  • capacities of persons with mental disabilities to consent to and refuse treatment
  • the complexities of mental health services in corrections
  • public sector systems for delivering forensic evaluations serving criminal courts
  • relevance of adolescent development for juvenile justice policy and practice
  • creating and validating specialized forensic, behavioral health and risk assessment tools to assist decisions in criminal and juvenile justice settings
  • implementing risk/needs assessments and behavioral health screening in juvenile justice settings to assist with decision-making
  • ethical issues in mental health and law

Most of the Program’s research in these areas has been supported by multi-year grants from federal agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as private foundations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation.   Research activities also are supported by contracts with state agencies requesting research or evaluation assistance.  The research activities of the Law and Psychiatry program are operated primarily through the Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) within the UMass Chan Medical School Department of Psychiatry.