Thomas Grisso, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the University of
Massachusetts Medical School. In addition to engaging in research and teaching in the
University's Law and Psychiatry Program, he consults to federal and state programs
on policy and forensic practice in the juvenile justice system. His work has focused on
improving forensic evaluations for the courts and informing policy and law for youths in
the juvenile justice system and for persons with mental disorders. Several of his fifteen
books have been influential in setting standards for forensic mental health evaluations.
He pioneered concepts on which forensic evaluations of several legal competencies have
been developed, especially competence to stand trial and (with Paul Appelbaum) competence
to consent to treatment. His contributions to juvenile justice policy and practice have
included his studies of juveniles’ capacities to waive Miranda rights and their
competence to stand trial, as well as development (with Richard Barnum) of a mental
health screening tool now used statewide in juvenile detention and corrections in over 40
states. Research performed with his colleagues in the MacArthur Foundation’s Research
Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice was relied upon by the U.S.
Supreme Court in its recent decisions against the death penalty and limiting the sentence
of life without parole for crimes committed during adolescence. His work has been
recognized with awards from the American Psychological Association, the American
Psychiatric Association, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (U.K.), the American
Psychology-Law Society, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from John Jay College of
Criminal Justice, and the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship at the
University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Contributions to Books
Forensic Psychology (with John C. Brigham), Comprehensive Handbook of Psychology. Vol. 1: The History of Psychology (2003)