About Us

The Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia is an interdisciplinary program in mental health law, forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology, and forensic neuropsychology. Institute activities include academic programs, forensic clinical evaluations, professional training, empirical and theoretical research, and public policy consultation and review.

The Institute is part of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and is affiliated with the School of Law, the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Curry School of Education programs in Clinical Psychology and School Psychology. The Institute also is supported in part by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.

Through its faculty who possess expertise in the law, psychiatry, psychology, neuropsychology, public health and social work, the Institute brings an integrated approach to a wide variety of interdisciplinary programs pertinent to mental health practice, public policy, and the law. Institute faculty are involved in professional and public service activities on the international, national, state, and community levels. In addition to membership in major organizations in law, psychiatry, psychology, public health, and social work, Institute personnel hold elected offices, serve on editorial advisory boards, chair and serve on commissions, committees, and task forces, and advise and consult on the full range of mental health law issues.

The educational and training activities of the Institute include courses, seminars, workshops, symposia, and fellowships. Courses and seminars constitute part of the curriculum of the School of Law, and are taught each year by interdisciplinary teams. In addition, various other programs are designed to serve the educational needs of students and residents in law, psychiatry, psychology, public health, and biomedical ethics, and to offer continuing education and training for attorneys, judges, mental health professionals, criminal justice specialists, and law enforcement personnel.

The Institute provides adult and juvenile forensic evaluation services and expert testimony in both criminal and civil cases, and also assists attorneys with mitigation strategies for capital cases. The majority of evaluations are performed on an outpatient basis. The Institute’s staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, social workers and attorneys provide additional specific consultation services to the University community and the public by request.

The Institute also maintains a Directory of Mental Health Clinicians with Virginia Training in Forensic Evaluation, a database that contains names and contact information for mental health clinicians who have completed either the Adult Basic or Juvenile Basic forensic training sequence at ILPPP. These clinicians meet the requirement for the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services-approved training referenced in the Virginia Code in the statutes that govern forensic evaluators.

Institue faculty reasearch and write many publications, including the newsletter Developments in Mental Health Law, reports to government agencies concerned with setting policy and other material on emerging issues in mental health law and practice, and social policy.

Research activities at the Institute include multidisciplinary studies in clinical criminology, empirical studies of psychiatric and legal decision-making, and the analysis of mental health law and policy. Recent research projects have been sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, The MacArthur Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Institute has established two Memorial Funds in honor of Dr. P. Browning Hoffman and Dr. Gary Hawk. The funds support Institute educational activities.

The mission of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy is to:

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