Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Diomaris Safi, Psy.D.


The United States is the world’s leader when it comes to incarceration rates, and racial disparities are significant within this system (World Prison Brief, 2020). The most significant factor proposed as influencing this disparity is the ongoing racial bias within and outside of the legal system. Throughout the legal process, there are several instances where the defendant’s race may come into play when it comes to competency to stand trial evaluations. The first instance is during the referral process, and the second instance is during the competency evaluation itself. Several instruments have been developed to capture an individual’s understanding of court proceedings based on the Dusky standard. The MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool - Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA) is one of those measures. Although this instrument is used with increasing frequency, it has not been critically examined for racial bias. While research has shown that racial bias exists within the legal system, there are areas of the system that have not been thoroughly examined for bias.

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Psychology Commons