Drs. Kois and Cox and CLASS Doctoral Student Ashley Peck have a new publication, Forensic e-Mental Health - Review, Research Priorities, and Policy Directions, in press with Psychology, Public Policy, and Law!
Download the pre-print here. Abstract: Forensic e-mental health is an area of psychology that is relatively underdeveloped considering technological advancements and the many mental health needs of justice-involved individuals. It includes the procurement, storage, sharing, and provision of forensic mental health information and services via electronic means and is associated with improved accessibility, efficiency, cost-savings, and safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, clinics, hospitals, jails, prisons, and the courts rapidly adopted these modalities for service continuity out of necessity, rather than choice. In the absence of formal guidelines, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers were left searching for answers: what forensic e-mental health technologies are available, what was their research evidence, and what could the future hold? A “primer” covering the many aspects of technology-assisted forensic practice and research was overdue. To address this knowledge gap, we reviewed the e-mental health research base encompassing forensic evaluations and interventions. Considering stakeholders’ needs, cost, and feasibility, we prioritized key topics that should rise to the top of the forensic e-mental health research agenda: the psychometric properties of forensic e-mental health assessments, impact of video recording evaluations, how to assess and treat diverse populations, restoration of competence to proceed, continuum of care, minimizing treatment attrition, and decreasing substance use. We report how to plan for and overcome logistical hurdles when implementing forensic e-mental health policy, utilize technology for training and education, and harness digitized data across the forensic realm. In conclusion, we find that there is ample opportunity for leveraging technology to improve forensic mental health practice, research, and policy.