Program Goals

To familiarize residents with all aspects of forensic psychiatry, and to prepare them for forensic psychiatric practice, teaching, research, and system consultation.  These goals involve objectives in three areas: knowledge, skills, and attitudes.


  • Develop a working knowledge of the principles and practice of legal dispute resolution in the United States.

  • Understand the legal standards and concepts governing civil and criminal forensic psychiatric evaluations.

  • Learn the principles and current trends in the legal regulation of psychiatric practice; e.g. civil commitment, confidentiality, liability, duty to third parties, physician/patient relationships, ethics, right to refuse treatment and informed consent.

  • Become familiar with the special issues involved with mental health treatment in jail, prisons, maximum-security treatment centers and public sector administration.

  • Develop a knowledge base in special areas of psychiatry relevant to forensic evaluation, such as malingering, hypnosis, neuropsychiatric disorders, dissociative disorders, sexual disorders, substance abuse, parental capacity, and others.

  • Understand the ethical issues surrounding psychiatric participation in the legal system.


  • Develop expertise in conducting criminal and civil forensic psychiatric evaluations.

  • Develop expertise in communication with courts and attorneys, preparing forensic reports, and testifying as an expert witness.

  • Develop expertise in teaching and consulting on forensic issues to general psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

  • Develop skills in working with criminal justice populations with mental disorders.

  • Develop skills in consulting to governmental bodies regarding public policy concerning psychiatric disorders and the law.

  • Develop skills in conducting scholarly research, either empirical or involving review of the legal and/or psychiatric literature.


  • Demonstrate attitudes that promote honesty, objectivity, and respect for persons in the practice of forensic psychiatry.

  • Demonstrate professionalism in working with mental health workers, courts, attorneys, and public agencies.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the advancement of professional knowledge in forensic psychiatry.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong, self-directed leaning in forensic psychiatry.

  • Develop an appreciation for the limits of their own and their profession’s knowledge and skills, a toleration of uncertainty, and a readiness to seek appropriate consultation and education.


Arkansas State Hospital

A.     Develop expertise in performing a wide range of forensic psychiatric evaluations on inpatients with a great variety of psychiatric disorders and medico-legal involvements.  These include evaluations which concern competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, suitability for conditional release, civil commitment, right to refuse treatment, violence risk assessment, guardianship, and others. 

B.     Participate in the education of general psychiatry residents and other mental health professionals and students.

C.    Provide consultation to administration and staff of Arkansas State Hospital on medico-legal issues.

Arkansas Department of Corrections

A.     Develop skills in the psychiatric evaluation of individuals in a correctional setting.  The evaluation process will include diagnosis, assessment of dangerousness to self or others, and assessment as to housing needs within the institution and other dispositional matters.

B.     Develop expertise in the psychiatric treatment of correctional populations.

C.    Develop an understanding of the role of correctional mental health care in the mental health-criminal justice process.

D.    Develop an understanding of the correctional institution as a social system influencing inmate behavior.

Department of Psychiatry, Adult Outpatient Clinic

      A. Develop expertise in performing a wide range of forensic psychiatric evaluations on outpatient basis.

B.     Develop expertise in conducting court-appointed forensic psychiatric evaluations.

C.     Develop expertise in conducting evaluations for the civil bar.