I was vacillating about whether to attend the upcoming American Psychological Association convention in San Diego, but browsing through the schedule sold me. The American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41) is sponsoring almost two dozen top-notch sessions featuring timely topics and appearances by many forensic psychology luminaries. Especially timely is the focus on juvenile justice issues. Here's a sampling of the great offerings:
Juvenile justice track
- "Life Without Parole for Juvenile Offenders: Current Legal, Developmental, and Psychological Issues" features Thomas Grisso, Bryan Stevenson, Barry Feld, and Chrisopher Slobogin, dissecting the recent Sullivan and Graham cases and discussing the role of forensic examiners.
- Judicial Panel on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality, hosted by forensic psychology scholar Richard Wiener, features three juvenile court judges and an attorney from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
- "Juvenile Offenders Are Ineligible for Civil Commitment As Sexual Predators," looks to be a great presentation on a topic I have blogged about recently, that of predicting sex offender recidivism among kids; moderated by Richard Wollert, the panel includes Michael Caldwell telling us "Why Evaluators Can't Identify Sexual Recidivists When They Assess Juveniles."
- "The Construct of Empathy in the Treatment of Adolescents in the Juvenile Justice System," moderated by Lois Condie of Harvard Medical School, will include a presentation by forensic psychologist and professor Frank DiCataldo, whose outstanding book The Perversion of Youth I reviewed here.
- "Forensic Assessment": Scholars Daniel Murrie, Richard Rogers, and others will discuss the reliability of forensic evaluations in sanity evaluations, misassumptions regarding Miranda waivers, evaluating the competence of violence risk assessors, and other timely forensic assessment issues.
- "Mental Health Courts -- The MacArthur Research" features stalwarts John Monahan, Hank Steadman, and others.
- "Long-Term Solitary Confinement's Impact on Psychological Well-Being -- The Colorado Study" looks to be an especially powerful panel including presentations by Stuart Grassian, an early scholar of segregation psychosis, AP-LS fellow Joel Dvoskin, and Jamie Fellner, an attorney with Human Rights Watch, talking about "Supermax Confinement and the Mind."
- "Juror Decision Making": Margaret Bull Kovera and other scholars will present recent empirical findings in jury research.
- "Social Cognition in Court -- Understanding Laypersons' Interrogation Schemas and Prototypes" features false confession scholars Saul Kassin, Solomon M. Fulero, and others.