© 2020

Forensic Mental Health Evaluations in the Digital Age

A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Internet-Based Data

  • Ashley B. Batastini
  • Michael J. Vitacco

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Ashley B. Batastini, Ashley C. T. Jones, Olivia K. Miller, Michael J. Vitacco
    Pages 1-22
  3. Michael J. Vitacco, Diandra Sigurdsson, Alynda M. Randolph, Ashley B. Batastini
    Pages 23-48
  4. Robert E. Cochrane, Kristina P. Lloyd
    Pages 49-82
  5. Kirk Heilbrun, Victoria Pietruszka, Jennica Janssen, Keisha April
    Pages 83-112
  6. Emily D. Gottfried, Abby L. Mulay, R. Gregg Dwyer
    Pages 113-142
  7. Sean B. Knuth
    Pages 143-167
  8. Lisa Drago Piechowski
    Pages 203-226
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 239-246

About this book


This is the first book devoted to the use of social media and other internet-derived data in forming forensic clinical opinions of behavior. Designed for mental health practitioners, it outlines the challenges and the benefits of incorporating digital information in forensic assessments. It offers best practice guidelines geared to both criminal and civil psycho-legal questions. Each chapter includes a brief overview of the psycho-legal issues, clinical applications of consulting internet-based data, ethical and legal considerations and real life, de-identified case examples. This book provides guidance to the clinician in an emerging technological environment in which there are few resources, and ensures a more scientific and legally sound practice.


psychology and law forensic mental health assessment social media and forensic psychology psychological assessment violence risk assessment social media psychological evaluation internet-based data

Editors and affiliations

  • Ashley B. Batastini
    • 1
  • Michael J. Vitacco
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.Augusta UniversityAugustaUSA

About the editors

Ashley B. Batastini, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she directs the Correctional and Forensic Psychology Research Laboratory. She also maintains a private practice conducting pre-trial evaluations as a licensed psychologist in the state of Mississippi. Dr. Batastini earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at Texas Tech University after completing a pre-doctoral internship at Western State Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Batastini has authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters related to the psychological effects of administrative segregation, community re-entry barriers, violence risk communication, and applications of telepsychology in corrections. Additionally, Dr. Batastini is the lead developer of an evidence-based program for inmates with mental health concerns who are detained in or prone to restrictive housing environments (Stepping Up, Stepping Out).


Michael J. Vitacco, Ph.D., ABPP, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior as well as in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. At Augusta University he serves as the Director of the postdoctoral fellowship program in forensic psychology.  He also maintains a private practice conducting pretrial, preemployment, risk evaluations as a licensed psychologist in the states of Georgia and Wisconsin, He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of North Texas, an internship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice, and a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Vitacco has 15 years of clinical expertise in conducting forensic mental health assessments. Dr. Vitacco is a licensed psychologist and has been board certified in forensic psychology since 2016. Dr. Vitacco is highly published on topics related to forensic mental health treatment and assessment, including violence risk, detection of malingering, and the civil commitment of NRGI patients.


Bibliographic information