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About Thomas Grisso

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.


Present Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research, American Psychological Association (2014)
  • Annual Recognition Award, Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Boston MA (2013)
  • Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship, University of Massachusetts Medical School (2013)
  • B.J. Anno Award for Excellence in Communication, National Commission on Correctional Health Care (2012)
  • Distinguished Career Award, New York State Psychological Association (2012)
  • Outstanding Contributions to Psychology and Law, American Psychology–Law Society of the American Psychological Association (2012)
  • Outstanding Mentor Award, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School (2010)
  • Beth Clark Award for Contributions to Forensic Psychology, American Academy of Forensic Psychology (2010)
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists, Hononary Fellow Award (2006)
  • American Psychiatric Association’s Isaac Ray Award for distinguished contributions to medical jurisprudence (2005)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (1998)
  • American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy (1994)

Contact Information

Department of Psychiatry
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
Telephone: 508-856-8732


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