1st Edition

Crime and Psychology Foundations of Forensic Practice

By Jonathan Venn Copyright 2024
    462 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    462 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Clear and accessible in style, this book offers a comprehensive introduction to criminal justice and forensic mental health and the ways in which they intersect.

    Assuming no prior exposure to the field of criminal forensic psychology, the book reviews ten areas where mental health professionals contribute regularly to the due process of law: comprehension of rights, competency to stand trial, transfer of juveniles to adult court, risk assessment, mitigation, sentencing, sexually violent predators, insanity, and capital punishment of persons with mental illness and with intellectual disability. The book also explores the major categories of mental disorders, how they contribute to criminal behavior, and what problems they present in courts and corrections. Landmark cases from the United States and United Kingdom are also reviewed in detail to develop a thorough understanding of the court’s decision-making process. Bridging the gap between abstraction and practice through its narrative presentation of case material, emphasis on controversy, and illumination of the historical roots of problems and ideas, the book helps the forensic practitioner transition from novice to knowledgeable professional in the courtroom.

    Drawing on the author’s extensive experience in forensic psychology, this book is the ideal resource for the early-career forensic mental health practitioner, as well as graduate students in forensic mental health and forensic psychology, and mental health professionals seeking to enter the field of forensics.

    PART 1: Foundational concepts of law and mental health  1. Due process of law  2. Mental health professionals in court  3. Expert testimony  4. Pleas and verdicts  5. Three standards of evidence  6. Four goals of sentencing  7. The doctrine of mens rea  8. Applications of mens rea  PART 2: Due process before trial  9. Waiver of 5th and 6th Amendment rights during police interrogations: Miranda v. Arizona (U.S. 1966)  10. Competency to stand trial (CST)  11. Transfer of juveniles to adult court: Kent v. United States (U.S. 1966)  PART 3: Due process after conviction  12. Assessing risk of violence  13. Risk assessment and the death penalty  14. Mitigation testimony in capital sentencing has no limits: Lockett v. Ohio (U.S. 1978)  15. Juvenile Sentencing: Miller v. Alabama (U.S. 2012)  16. Civil commitment of sexually violent predators (SVPs)  17. Executing persons who have intellectual developmental disorder (IDD)  18. Competency to be executed: Ford v. Wainwright (U.S. 1986) PART 4: The insanity defense  19.
    The three incapacities  20. Foundational cases in the United Kingdom from Rex v. Arnold (1724) to Regina v. M’Naghten (1843)  21. A middle road for the insanity defense: Diminished responsibility / diminished capacity / diminished actuality  22. U.S. cases that narrowed the insanity defense  23. Case Study #12: The death penalty for a defendant with serious mental illness and volitional incapacity: State v. Wilson (S.C. 1992)  24. The abolitionist states  PART 5: Mental disorders and crime  25. Neurodevelopmental Disorders  26. Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders  27. Bipolar and Related Disorders  28. Depressive disorders  29. Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders  30. Dissociative disorders  31. Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders  32. Substance-Related and Addictive  33. Neurocognitive Disorders Disorders  34. Personality disorders  35. Paraphilic Disorders  36. Mental disorders less commonly associated with crime  37. Epilogue: The future of forensic mental health


    Jonathan Venn, Ph.D., ABPP, earned his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Northwestern University in 1977. He has been providing psychological services since 1971 and has evaluated thousands of criminal defendants, convicted felons, and juvenile delinquents. He has testified as an expert witness in hundreds of litigated proceedings.

    “Dr Jonathan Venn has written a tour de force. In four decades of practice as a forensic psychologist, I have never seen such a comprehensive, clear, and deeply thoughtful textbook on the science and practice of forensic psychology.”

     J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D., ABPP, Former President at the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and Fellow at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, USA

    “This comprehensive textbook by Dr. Venn is long overdue for the field.  He does an excellent, thorough job of explaining clearly some of the most complex challenges to the forensic psychologist as in Chapter Two on preparing for and serving as an expert witness in court. The bibliographies accompanying each chapter provide a list of outstanding resources on each subject covered. Bravo!”

     Florence Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP, Founding President, American Board of Forensic Psychology, USA

    “Dr. Venn has accomplished a remarkable task: integrating legal history, case law, statutes and clinical applications.  I think it could be subtitled: “Everything you ever wanted to know about criminal forensic psychology." Its focus on the controversies in many different substantive areas, is quite original, and gives a sense of the realities of forensic practice, rather than a series of abstract observations.  The organization is excellent, in that it looks at the major components of each substantive issue.  These significant components have often been overlooked in previous texts I have seen.  Finally, the writing style is easy to follow, and one looks forward to the next part of each issue being discussed.”

    David L. Shapiro, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor Emeritus, College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University, USA

    "This excellent text is intended to thoroughly introduce mental health professionals into forensic practices. It is clearly dedicated to criminal issues, such as insanity, Miranda waivers, and the death penalty. Succinct chapters highlight the interesting backgrounds of defendants in landmark legal cases. Regarding the science of forensic psychology, important advances in forensic tests are featured. Students and professionals interested in the practice of criminal forensic psychology should read this book from cover to cover."  

    Richard Rogers, Ph.D., ABPP, Regents Professor of Psychology and Eminent Faculty, University of North Texas, USA

    "In Crime and Psychology: Foundations of Forensic Practice, Jonathan Venn has generated the “missing book” that many experts in mental health law would have given their eye teeth for when they were first starting out.  Dr. Venn explains “everything you wanted to know” about why things are the way they are in the American criminal justice system.  Crime and Psychology includes a treasury of “back stories” of famous cases, exhaustive references to case law, and wisdom earned through years of expert practice.  The book is readily accessible for undergraduates and graduates trying to decide on a career path in psychology.  Dr. Venn provides not only a workman’s view of how the system operates, but he provides a compassionate take on how mental illness plays a central role in the lives of many criminal defendants.  I plan to read this book once a year to remind myself of the foundations of my forensic practice."

    Richard Frederick, Ph.D., ABPP, Private Practice, Minneapolis, USA

    "In this engaging, comprehensive, and deeply scholarly text, Dr. Venn has done a remarkable job of weaving together historical and contemporary case law and its philosophical and political underpinnings, psychological research, clinical issues, practical concerns, and detailed case studies. Dr. Venn’s readers – whether students or established professionals – will find their knowledge of forensic psychology, its underlying concepts, and its controversies tremendously enriched." 

    Carol E. Holden, Ph.D., ABPP, University of Michigan, USA

    "I have known Dr. Jonathan Venn for many years and he is a thorough and thoughtful neuropsychologist with decades of forensic experience. He is also an excellent witness. These skills are all evident in his new book, Crime and Psychology: Foundations of Forensic Practice, which will surely be an important resource tool for those studying and practicing forensic psychology." 

    John H. Blume, J.D., Samuel S. Leibowitz Professor of Trial Techniques and Director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project, Cornell Law School, USA

    "Dr. Venn has written an important, thoughtful, scholarly, and thoroughly-researched textbook that will greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, history, case law, and forensic psychological practice involved in the complex intricacies of criminal procedural law and mental illness. His text reflects his decades-long experience as a criminal forensic psychologist who has evaluated and given expert testimony in hundreds of adolescent and adult cases at every stage of prosecution from pre-trial issues such as competency to stand trial to at-trial issues of mental state at the time of offense (e.g., insanity) to post-trial issues of sentencing including the death penalty to appellate issues of competency to be executed. Faculty teaching in introductory and advanced forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry training programs will find this textbook a valuable resource for their students and themselves." 

    Geoffrey R. McKee, Ph.D, ABPP, Diplomate in Forensic Psychology and American Board of Professional Psychology, USA

    "The author is a highly respected Board Certified Forensic Psychologist who has managed to present complex topics in an easy to digest, yet thorough fashion.  The style of writing is clear and articulate, and the frequent use of case examples is particularly helpful. I highly recommend this book for graduate students as well as early career practitioners interested in forensic psychological practice in the criminal justice system." 

    Ira K. Packer, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic), Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, USA

    "Most of the chapters begin with nuggets of historical background for the relevant legal question. How did the legal concept evolve to become embedded in our modern case law, and how is that relevant for your forensic mental health assessments?  Not on the tip of the tongue for many forensic examiners.  But history deepens your appreciation of your assessment’s purpose and importance."

    Thomas Grisso, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, USA

    "Perhaps the greatest compliment I could give a book such as this is that it does exactly what the author set out to do. It provides an honest picture of the career of a forensic psychologist. Case examples give life to legal principles and processes, and complex questions are explained in clear, thoughtful language that is easily digested. The list of topics covered is comprehensive, and the resulting discussions are practical...Perhaps you are someone who has wondered about the practice of forensic psychology. Or perhaps you have contemplated a career in this field or started down the path that Jonathan Venn has described so well. In either case, this book is for you. I hope you enjoy reading it and learning about this fascinating profession."

    From the Foreword by Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Co-Founder, Heroes Active Bystandership Training, Former President, American Psychology-Law Society, USA