MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA)

Author(s) : Steven K. Hoge, Richard J. Bonnie, Norman G. Poythress and John Monahan

Publisher : PAR, 1999


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SKU : 990MAC

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MacCAT-CA eManual

SKU : EP146

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MacCAT-CA Interview Booklet (pkg 10)

SKU : 600MAC

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Purpose: Evaluate a defendant's capacity to proceed to adjudication

Age: 18-80 years

Time: 25 to 55 minutes

The MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool–Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA) is a 22-item structured interview for the pre-trial assessment of adjudicative competence.

This instrument uses a vignette format and objectively scored questions to standardise the measurement of three competence-related abilities:

  1. Understanding capacity for factual understanding of the legal system and the adjudication process
  2. Reasoning ability to distinguish more relevant from less relevant factual information and ability to reason about the two legal options: pleading guilty or not guilty
  3. Appreciation capacity to understand his or her own legal situation and circumstances

The eight understanding and eight reasoning items are based on a brief vignette that describes a hypothetical crime; the 16 items query about prosecution of the hypothetical defendant. This approach was designed to introduce legal issues in a way that distances the defendant from the specifics of his or her own case.

The six appreciation items query defendants about their attitudes and beliefs concerning the legal process as it surrounds their own cases.

The MacCAT-CA is considered appropriate for use with both felony and misdemeanour defendants ages 18 years and older. It may be used in inpatient, outpatient, forensic, and correctional settings both prior to, and subsequent to, adjudication of competence to proceed with the criminal process. It may also be used to assess treatment progress with respect to restoration of competency.

Steven K. Hoge, Richard J. Bonnie, Norman G. Poythress and John Monahan

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