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JUVENILE ADJUDICATIVE COMPETENCE INTERVIEW (JACI)* General Guidance 1. Obtain information about youth’s abilities in 12 areas relevant for competence to stand trial. 2. Explore youth’s answers and explanations with questions of your choosing, especially when youth’s initial responses reflect thinking that may be influenced by immaturity, mental disorder, or poor intellectual functioning. (See comments below on exploring youth’s explainations.) 3. Some areas provide questions called “Capacity Check,” requiring an attempt to teach youth relevant information if they do not seem to understand. The purpose is to determine whether youths might grasp the information explained and can retain it. The following concepts are described in detail in the guide. They are provided here as a summary for clinicians to keep in mind as they interview youths for competency abilities. Understanding Items: Designed to help the clinician assess basic knowledge of facts and procedures in the adjudication process in juvenile court (related to “factual understanding” in the legal standard). Appreciation Items: Designed to help the clinician assess youths’ perceptions and beliefs about the implications of the legal concept in question (related to “rational understanding” in the legal standard). Reasoning Items: Only in Component 11 of the interview. Designed to help the clinician assess decision-making abilities often involved in decisions youths must make in juvenile court. Exploring youths’ explanations for their answers is important for identifying the reasons for poor understanding or appreciation, especially immaturity. The following is a summary of some manifestations of immaturity that may influence Understanding, Appreciation, and/or Reasoning in some adolescents. These concepts and examples are described in more detail in the guide. ! Perceived Autonomy: Youths’ dependency and the social role of “child” require a developing sense of one’s autonomy as youths mature, before youths can approach decisions as though they actually have a choice and must take independent responsibility for making them. Lack of perceived autonomy is sometimes manifested in passivity, inattention, or simple acquiescence to the desires of authority or to the suggestions of peers. ! Perceptions of Risk: Especially at ages 13 to 15, some youths pass through a developmental stage in which they accept negative risks to a greater degree than they did when they were younger or will do when they are older. ! Time Perspective: Some adolescents are still developing a sense of time (e.g., what a “long time” means), the capacity or tendency to consider longer range consequences, or to balance longer term potential losses against shorter term gains. ! Abstract/Concrete Thinking: Some adolescents are slow to develop the ability to think abstractly, so that their perceptions and decisions are based on overly concrete ideas. (For example, when asked whether they would plead guilty: “I’d have to . . . I did what they said.” 1 Preliminary: Experience and Legal Context Explore youth’s past legal experiences and present legal charges. The following is a suggested set of questions to use in this “preliminary” part of the Competence Abilities Interview. Is this the first time you’ve had to come to juvenile court, or have there been other times? First time: Has the youth been in other people’s court hearings or seen courts on television? Explore whether youth has had any experience with lawyers. Other times: Explore for number, how long ago, and nature of charges. Types of contact and what they were like, i.e. only P.O. visit, court hearings? Had a lawyer and, if so, youth’s recollection and perception of the lawyer. What is it that the police say you did? Why are you at juvenile court now? Clarity of youth’s description: “Internal” consistency of youth’s description: 2 (1) Nature and Seriousness of Offense Understanding What is the name of the offense you are charged with? The one you just described ! Knows offense charged Appreciation Would people consider that a serious offense or not so serious? Why? ! Appreciates degree of seriousness Tell me an offense (or something someone could do) that would be less serious than that. Why? Tell me one that is more serious.