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(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - In their evaluations of 18 males in Texas condemned to death for homicides committed before their 18th birthdays, Dorothy Otnow Lewis, M.D., and colleagues relied on neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, and educational examinations and assessments (J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2004; 32(4):408-429).

"The psychiatric evaluation was based on a modified form of the Bellevue Adolescent Interview Schedule and the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule [DDIS]," Lewis told Psychiatric Times. "We used a cheat sheet to remind us of the questions from the interviews, but followed a more conversational approach in delivering the questions."

Lewis and colleagues noted that topics in the psychiatric evaluation included histories of neuropsychiatric symptoms, psychiatric treatment, medical history, characteristics of temper, family mental health histories, and histories of child physical and sexual abuse and family violence. An inmate's face, head and body were also examined for scars. Before the modified Bellevue Adolescent Interview was used in Texas, Lewis told PT, it was pre-tested at a residential treatment facility for delinquent children in another state.

"We trained the staff in its use. They liked it so much, they are using it as part of their intake," she said.

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