Factors to consider in evaluating the appropriateness of restraints during forensic evaluations [2018]

Forensic examiners frequently conduct evaluations with individuals who may be regarded as dangerous. To manage this situation, forensic examiners may prefer examinees to wear restraints. Available literature indicates that the use of restraints may be both physically and psychologically detrimental and thus possibly both reduces the yield and limits the utility of psychological test data. Although there is a lack of research addressing this concern, one must use the available information to inform the decision on utilization of restraints during forensic evaluations. In addition, professional ethics, test standards and norms, the reported adverse effects of restraints on both psychiatric patients and inmates, and the concept of forced medication are reviewed to help assess the appropriateness of restraints during forensic evaluations. This analysis provides forensic examiners with insight and recommendations to determine if the use of restraints is best practice during forensic evaluations, particularly within the United States.

Rachel C. Rock, Clayton Shealy & Martin Sellbom
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 14 Jun 2018