newsupdatesBelow is a listing of our most recent news and updates. To read more about a particular article, simply click the link at the top of the article to read the entire post.

Scholarship Cited by the U.S. Supreme Court

A peer-reviewed journal article coauthored by Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Gil Macvaugh was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2017 in Moore v. Texas. In the Moore opinion, SCOTUS disallowed the restrictive Briseno criteria asserted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for diagnosing Intellectual Disability (formerly Mental Retardation) in capital cases. The article cited had previously been specified as authority in amici curiae briefs filed in this case by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Drs. Macvaugh and Cunningham were gratified to have their scholarship inform public policy.

2016 Shared Recipient of American Psychology-Law Society Book Award

A text, Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law: A Handbook for Lawyers, where Dr. Cunningham contributed a chapter, has been recognized with the American Psychology-Law Society Book Award. This award is given to a scholarly book devoted to psychology and law issues to recognize outstanding scholarship in psychology and law.

Office Relocation to Seattle

Effective March 1, 2016, Dr. Cunningham’s office relocated to Seattle, Washington. Our phone number, address, and staff have changed. Amy Kaname is managing the office. Please visit the contact us page for our new contact information.

The Failure of Security Rationale for Death Row

Dr. Cunningham and colleagues, Dr. Tom Reidy and Dr. Jon Sorensen, have published important findings in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. The confinement of capital punishment (death-sentenced) inmates nationwide is typified by marked interpersonal isolation and activity deprivation on segregated death rows. These super maximum security measures are ostensibly based on an assumption that capital punishment inmates are at high risk for violence. Super maximum confinement on death row has high costs: fiscal, staffing, and psychological. This study provided a 25-year follow-up on the Missouri Department of Corrections unique policy of “mainstreaming” capital punishment inmates into the general population of the Potosi Correctional Center (PCC). Findings remained consistent in showing that mainstreamed capital punishment inmates (N 85) had equivalent or lower rates of violent misconduct than inmates serving life-without-parole (N 702) or term-sentences (N 3,000). The failure of assumptions of high violence risk undergirding death row has important public policy and correctional implications.

Professional Issues in Atkins Assessments

Recently published, The death penalty and intellectual disability: A guide provides a comprehensive and cogent resource for the use of the range of professionals involved in the determination process for intellectual disability within the criminal justice system.  Among the critical topics addressed is Professional Issues in Atkins Assessments, Chapter 22, written by Macvaugh, G. S., Cunningham, M. D., & Tassé, M. J.  In this chapter, the authors identify not only professional issues, but ethical issues experts face, in addition to providing recommendations for practice.  Click here to learn more about this publication.