The current system that manages the competency to stand trial (CST) process in many states is in crisis (Callahan & Pinals, 2020). This is largely due to a significant increase in the amount of people needing competency related services in the last decade (Wik, Hollen, & Fisher, 2019). There have been many solutions proposed by researchers, which include but are not limited to, a screening process for competency to stand trial evaluations, along with shortening deadlines for qualified practitioners to complete evaluations (Gowensmith, 2019). This study examines the effectiveness and efficiency of implementing a screen into the CST process while also looking at the association of time and evaluator outcome to determine if there is a proper timeframe from which to recommend an evaluation. The data was collected from archived CST screens and reports available from the 6th Judicial District of Minnesota. The 6th Judicial District serves suburban and rural areas in Northeastern Minnesota. Data collected included time of court order for screen and evaluation, evaluator opinion, evaluation characteristics, and defendant characteristics. The screening process was determined to be both effective and efficient at screening out clearly competent defendants reducing the number of full evaluations forensic examiners needed to conduct. The study found no significant association between time and evaluator outcome when determining the defendant’s competence.

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Committee members

Dr. Bradley Green, Dr. Jacqueline Buffington, Dr. Adam McGuire


Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

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Psychology Commons