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About the Law and Psychiatry Division at Yale

Welcome to the Law & Psychiatry Division. The Division provides the following services:

  • Forensic psychiatric and psychological evaluations for court and attorneys (civil and criminal)
  • Training for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and legal professionals
  • Treatment for individuals with mental illness and criminal-legal involvement
  • Research in forensic psychiatry and psychology
  • Consultation on legislation and policy and the state and national level
Dr. Howard Zonana

The history of the Law & Psychiatry Division is long and distinguished. In the early 1970s, Dr. Howard Zonana began his career as a junior faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry. During a time of rapid legislative change for individuals with mental disorders, Dr. Zonana provided consultation to Yale Law School faculty and students, who had begun to represent patients at the state psychiatric hospitals. These early consultations eventually launched the Law & Psychiatry Division.

A half century later, the Division is a premier forensic psychiatry center where excellence in education, research, forensic evaluation, patient care, and mental health policy converge. In Connecticut, Law & Psychiatry faculty have consulted on all major legislation regarding mental health law. Nationally, faculty members have served as experts in high-profile criminal and civil cases. Through the fellowship program, which began in 1979, the Division has educated nearly 150 forensic psychiatrists who have since become fellowship and residency directors, heads of state forensic mental health systems, internationally renowned expert witnesses, and exemplary providers of psychiatric care in the nation’s prisons, jails, and forensic hospitals.

After nearly 50 years leading the Law & Psychiatry Division, Dr. Zonana became a Professor Emeritus in July 2023. He continues to maintain an active role in teaching and forensic evaluation, responding to the ever-changing needs at the intersection of law and psychiatry. While the Division conducts a national search for a new Division Director, Drs. Reena Kapoor and Charles Dike serve as interim co-directors.