Learning Forensic Assessment

Article excerpt

Learning Forensic Assessment, by Rebecca Jackson (Ed.). (New York, NY: Routledge, 2008), 618 pp, $125.00 hardcover, $75.00 paperback.

Rebecca Jackson, Assistant Director of Joint Program in Psychology and the Law at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, has compiled a guide to forensic assessment. Her goal in assembling this edited volume was to create "a comprehensive, yet user-friendly textbook dedicated to forensic assessment," and in this she has succeeded. Many of the chapter authors are among the most prominent experts in their particular specialties, and some have actually written books or developed forensic assessment instruments on the subjects they address in the current volume. For example, the book includes chapters on and by the following:

* Forensic ethics by Mary Connell

* Training in forensic assessment by Kirk Heilbrun and associates

* Insanity evaluations by Richard Rogers

* Capital sentencing evaluations by Mark Cunningham

* Competency for execution evaluations by Patricia Zapf

* Juvenile transfer evaluations by Randall Salekin

* Disability evaluations by William Foote

* Sex offender civil commitment evaluations by Rebecca Jackson

The chapters read well. The authors cover their respective areas in clean, well-organized prose. Each chapter presents a review of the legal context and then numerous practical suggestions for conducting evaluations. In areas in which specialized forensic assessment instruments exist, the authors review these instruments, providing an introduction to the issues involved with their use.

Jackson's goal in editing this volume was to create a text that could be used as a graduate-level introduction to forensic psychology. …