Structured instruments for insanity defense evaluations: Opportunities and limitations

Giovanna Parmigiani*, Gabriele Mandarelli, Gerben Meynen, Gerben Meynen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Insanity evaluations are often criticized for their—alleged—lack of objectivity, reliability and transparency. Structured tools to guide and support forensic evaluators during these evaluations have been developed—but they are rarely employed in forensic practice. In the present article, we consider the value of these tools for forensic practice in terms of opportunities and limitations. First, we briefly describe different insanity criteria used in Western countries. Next, we will review five structured instruments to guide insanity assessment together with their performance measures. Finally, we draw conclusions on the value of such instruments for forensic practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-444
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • insanity criteria
  • insanity evaluation
  • structured instruments


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