Resolution or resignation: The role of forensic mental health professionals amidst the competency services crisis.

Competency-related services are rising at an unprecedented rate in the United States. Many states are in the midst of lawsuits and legal maneuvering to deal with long wait lists for defendants awaiting competency evaluations and admission to competency restoration services. As a result, many solutions have been proffered and implemented. However, solutions vary in their adherence to existing empirical research and applied experience. Forensic mental health professionals are uniquely qualified to shape the evolution of competency-related services into a humane and effective system. Promising policy implications can be rooted in emerging knowledge about the timing of competency evaluations, certification of evaluators, alternatives to inpatient restoration, and changes to evaluations and the associated reports. However, forensic professionals have typically given minimal attention to these issues, instead giving more focus to narrower issues of optimizing competency evaluations and restoration procedures. In so doing, forensic professionals are at risk of abdicating their expertise regarding competency-related services to other professions, as well as compromising their ethical commitments of beneficence and nonmaleficence in regard to incompetent defendants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)