Florida Statutes, Chapter 394 – Mental Health

This chapter of the Florida Statutes deals with the evaluation, research, and planning of programs for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Read the full chapter.

Florida Statutes, Chapter 916 – Mentally Deficient and Mentally Ill Defendants

This chapter of the Florida Statutes addresses forensic facilities and programs for treating or training defendants who have been charged with a felony and have been found incompetent to proceed due to mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. The chapter also address defendants who have been acquitted of a felony by reason of insanity. Read the full chapter.

Florida Rules of Criminal ProcedureRead the rules

  • Rule 3.201: Battered-Spouse Syndrome Defense, Page 119
  • Rule 3.202: Expert Testimony of Mental Mitigation During Penalty Phase of Capital Trial; Notice and Examination by State Expert, Page 120
  • Rule 3.210: Incompetence to Proceed: Procedure for Raising the Issue, Page 124
  • Rule 3.211: Competence to Proceed: Scope of Examination and Report, Page 130
  • Rule 3.212: Competence to Proceed: Hearing and Disposition, Page 135
  • Rule 3.213: Continuing Incompetency to Proceed, Except Incompetency to Proceed with Sentencing: Disposition, Page 142
  • Rule 3.214: Incompetency to Proceed to Sentencing: Disposition, Page 145
  • Rule 3.215: Effect of Adjudication of Incompetency to Proceed: Psychotropic Medication, Page 145
  • Rule 3.216: Insanity at Time of Offense or Probation or Community Control Violation: Notice and Appointment of Experts, Page 147
  • Rule 3.217: Judgment of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: Disposition of Defendant, Page 151
  • Rule 3.218: Commitment of a Defendant Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Page 152
  • Rule 3.219: Conditional Release, Page 153
  • Rule 3.220: Discovery, Page 155

Forensic Client Services Act Regulation

This chapter shows the Forensic Client Services Act Regulation, which was last updated November 29, 2012. Read the full act. For updates, please visit the Florida Administrative Code & Florida Administrative Register website.

American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law’s Ethics Guidelines for the Practice of Forensic Psychiatry

The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) is dedicated to the highest standards of practice in forensic psychiatry. Recognizing the unique aspects of this practice, which is at the interface of the professions of psychiatry and the law, the Academy presents these guidelines for the ethical practice of forensic psychiatry. Read the full guidelines.



DSM V: Changes/Updates

This PowerPoint presentation summarizes changes and updates in the newest DSM. Download as a PPT or  PDF.

The American Academy of Pschiatry and the Law (AAPL) Practice Guideline for the Forensic Assessment

This guideline is for psychiatrists and other clinicians working in a forensic role who conduct evaluations and provide opinions in legal and regulatory matters. Any clinician who agrees to perform forensic assessments in any domain is expected to have the qualifications necessary to meet the professional standards in the relevant jurisdiction and to complete the evaluation at hand. Read the guideline.

“From Group Data to Useful Probabilities: The Relevance of Actuarial Risk Assessment in Individual Instances” by Douglas Mossman, The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (2015)

Abstract: Probability plays a ubiquitous role in decision-making through a process in which we use data from groups of past outcomes to make inferences about new situations. Yet in recent years, many forensic mental health professionals have become persuaded that overly wide confidence intervals render actuarial risk assessment instruments virtually useless in individual assessments. If this were true, the mathematical properties of probabilistic judgments would preclude forensic clinicians from applying group-based findings about risk to individuals. As a consequence, actuarially based risk estimates might be barred from use in legal proceedings. Using a fictional scenario, I seek to show how group data have an obvious application to individual decisions. I also explain how misunderstanding the aims of risk assessment has led to mistakes about how, when, and why group data apply to individual instances. Although actuarially based statements about individuals’ risk have many pitfalls, confidence intervals pose no barrier to using actuarial tools derived from group data to improve decision-making about individual instances. Read the full article.


People with Mental Illnesses Involved in the Criminal Justice System by Judge Steve Leifman

Abstract: Nationwide, jails and prisons have become the largest psychiatric facilities in most states. It is estimated that there are nearly 14 times as many people with mental illnesses in jails and prisons in the United States as there are in all state psychiatric hospitals combined.

The initial closing of state hospital beds beginning in the 1950s and 1960s was a response to institutions which had largely become warehouses providing little more than custodial confinement. In 1963, Congress passed the Community Mental Health Centers Act which was intended to create a network of community-based mental health providers that would replace failing and costly state hospitals, and integrate people with mental illnesses back into their home communities with comprehensive treatment and services. Unfortunately, the comprehensive network of community mental health centers and services envisioned never materialized. The community mental health system that did emerge is too often fragmented with poorly integrated services, and enormous gaps in treatment and disparities in access to care.

Today, there are three significant areas of policy and practice contributing to the disproportionate involvement of people with serious mental illnesses in justice system: 1) Limitations on financing of services using federal resources; 2) Reliance on outdated civil commitment laws; and 3) Lack of standardized and systematic coordination of services and resources between the criminal justice system and the community mental health system.

Fortunately, there are promising solutions being developed as the result of problem-solving initiatives at the interface of the criminal justice and mental health arenas. By working collaboratively across systems and disciplines, we now have a greater understanding of the causes and consequences of involvement in the justice system among people with serious mental illnesses. Read the full statement.


Helpful Websites Related to Mental Health

Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

American Psychiatric Association:

American Psychological Association:

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill:

National Institute of Mental Health:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: