This Handbook is designed specifically to assist mental health professionals and lawyers engaged in capital trials, sentencing hearings, appeals and mercy hearings.
In far too many cases, individuals who have been sentenced to death are found to be suffering from mental illness and/or an intellectual disability. In order to protect those with mental illness from the imposition of the death penalty it is vital that medical experts are able to participate actively in the criminal justice process. This Handbook provides mental health professionals with the necessary skills and expertise to enable them to do so.
It draws on ordinary principles of forensic psychiatric practice and much of the text applies to all common law jurisdictions. Nevertheless, the handbook is ‘custom written’ specifically in regard to problems that can arise in countries that both retain the death penalty and may lack the level of mental health services available, for example, in the UK.
This handbook is designed to be used in conjunction with education and training events offered by members of Forensic Psychiatry Chambers and The Death Penalty Project. It therefore, effectively, amounts to a ‘course book’ for such education and training.
Since much of the handbook is applicable to criminal legal contexts other than in capital cases, it is hoped that this will further enhance its utility, particularly in developing countries.