Adolescents are in the midst of tremendous brain growth. Many adolescents that come in contact with the juvenile justice system often have undiagnosed mental health problems. Psychological evaluations of juveniles are an essential part of the juvenile delinquency system as they assist with treatment recommendations and assist with rehabilitation. In addition, justice-involved juveniles may have problems with functioning at a level similar to peers their age. Therefore, their actions and behaviors are reflective of their level of impairment, maturity, or both.
Some Impairments may include:
- Difficulty making decisions
- Passive Mentation
- Being more of a follower and leader
- Have difficulty with problem-solving
- Struggle to control impulses
- Have a pre-existing brain disorder
- Have an undiagnosed or untreated mental disorder
- Struggle to communicate
Types of Juvenile Delinquency Evaluations our practice can assist with include:
- Sentence Mitigation (including trauma and neurodevelopmental disorders assessment)
- Competence to Stand Trial
- Miranda Waiver Capacity
- Hard to place minors (suitable placement)
A Juvenile Forensic Evaluation can help by assisting the trier of fact or you, the attorney, to understand your client better. An evaluation can also provide a review of mitigating factors, assist with case analysis, and help construct arguments for your case. Dr. Vienna is also available to review other expert evaluators’ work and help formulate questions for cross-examination.
Our juvenile forensic evaluations will assess for psychological or neuropsychological factors that can impact the behavior motivating the misconduct. It typically involves:
- Consultation with the defendant’s attorney to determine the psycholegal questions that need to be answered.
- A clinical interview with the defendant.
- A collateral interview with a family member, treatment provider, or other support system member. The interview will help us gather additional information about the minor’s general background, psychological or neuropsychological functioning, and behavior prior to the alleged offense.
- A review of medical and mental health treatment records, as well as legal documents such as discovery, help us have a better understanding of the minor’s behavior and overall psychological functioning.
- We will administer psychological or neuropsychological tests to objectively assess for mental health symptoms and disorders.
- If needed, we will utilize risk assessment tools to assist with our structured decisions and opinions about future violence risk.
Last, we will write a legally defensible report that integrates our findings and give it to the minor’s attorney.
To learn more about our approach to Juvenile Delinquency, contact our office in Glendora at (626) 709-3494.