Assessment of level of danger/likelihood of repeat offense – In cases involving sex-related offenses, there are specific psychological test instruments that can assist in determining the level of dangerousness of an individual and/or how likely it is that a person may repeat a violent/sex-related offense.
Child custody – Often the court will ask for an independent evaluation of the parents’ psychological status and ability to maintain custody of a child. It is not uncommon for psychological evaluations to be done not only on the parents, but the child, as well. The attorneys for each parent may also ask for such an evaluation.
Competency to stand trial – The court, attorneys or social agencies may ask for an evaluation of a defendant’s mental condition at the time of trial. There are specific guidelines that are used to determine whether a person understands charges brought against him/her, what the trial procedures entail, and whether the person can assist in his/her own defense.
Criminal Responsibility–Insanity Pleas – An evaluation is sometimes asked for by the court, the prosecuting attorney or the defense attorney to determine whether a defendant was mentally capable at the time an offense was committed.
Critical incident interventions – A critical incident includes traumatic events such as a robbery, bomb threat, motor vehicle accident, injury resulting in severe impairment or death, officer-involved shooting–any type of incident in which people are traumatized. Interventions include individual and group counseling in an effort to lessen the effects and assist in dealing with the trauma.
Disability claims – These are claims filed through the Social Security Administration, either by an individual or through an attorney. Attorneys sometimes have clients undergo a psychological evaluation to help assess the level of severity of the problem and the likelihood that a disability claim will be approved by the court.
Expert witness – The court, the prosecuting attorney, or the defense attorney may call upon a qualified medical professional (including psychologists) to testify in court regarding an individual’s psychological status or to clarify psychological findings in accordance with legal guidelines, as in insanity pleas or disability claims. An expert witness might be called on to serve in criminal or civil cases.
Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation (FFDE) – In general, Fitness-for-duty evaluations (FFDEs) are conducted for sworn officers or personnel involved in public safety in response to specific and current problems with the person’s behavior that has been observed by coworkers, supervisors, or from substantiated civilian complaints. These concerns are serious enough that it calls into question the officers ability to perform expected duties safely.
These evaluations are to be objective, fair, adhere to guidelines that are compliant with Civil Rights, ADA, and privacy acts, and are deemed necessary to ensure the welfare of the person, coworkers, and the general public.
The purpose of an FFDE is not “punishment” but is a means by which the goals of the department can be accomplished and the duties of the officer fulfilled in an appropriate manner. It also provides an opportunity to the officer to receive treatment or other assistance to help remedy any problems that are present.
Independent Psychological Evaluation (IPE) – These evaluations are conducted by licensed clinical psychologists at the request of referring agencies. IPEs are performed in order to obtain an independent, objective opinion regarding a person’s personality traits, mental status, or diagnosis. These evaluations often include a review of medical and other related records, as well as psychological testing.
Jury selection – Psychologists often assist attorneys in helping them determine which potential jurors have favorable or risky profiles that will help or hinder a case.
Post-Conditional Offer of Employment (Post-COE) – A Post-COE is another term for a person who has successfully completed all the required screening, interviewing, and testing and has accepted an offer of employment with the understanding that the offer carries certain conditions that still need to be satisfied before employment can begin. It is possible that if the conditions are not met to the satisfaction of the potential employer the offer of employment can be withdrawn.
Pre-Conditional Offer of Employment (Pre-COE) – The Pre-Conditional Offer of Employment includes all aspects of screening prior to the actual offer (or conditional offer) of employment. At this point the potential employer might gather such information as name, demographic information, education, job experience, or administer non-medical tests.