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Psychological Assessment of Mitigating Factors

Psychological evaluations should address any mitigating circumstances present that may have affected the defendant's judgment, perception or intent in committing the offenses. There are several mitigating factors that relate specifically to psychological assessment. For example, a psychological disorder may have made the defendant more susceptible to provocation, or may explain, excuse or justify the defendant's behavior, which led to commission of the crime. Further, the psychological disorder may affect the person's ability to purposely, knowingly, or negligently commit the act. The evaluation may establish that the defendant is unlikely to commit another offense, or is very likely to respond positively to treatment and probation.

A psychological evaluation to assess mitigating circumstances should evaluate the defendant's behavior in terms of any identified psychological disorders or characteristics, clarify how the disorder may have affected the individual's ability to form the mental state necessary to commit the offense, and indicate how treatment can or will reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses. 

Psychologists wishing to publish articles on Forensic Psychology,
please consult the
Writer's Guidelines