The MacCAT-CA is a 22-item structured interview for the pretrial assessment of adjudicative competence.
- Uses a vignette format and objectively scored questions to standardize the measurement of three competence-related abilities: understanding, reasoning, and appreciation.
- The eight understanding and eight reasoning items are based on a brief vignette that describes a hypothetical crime; the 16 items query about prosecution of the hypothetical defendant. This approach was designed to introduce legal issues in a way that distances the defendant from the specifics of his or her own case.
- The six appreciation items query defendants about their attitudes and beliefs concerning the legal process as it surrounds their own cases.
- Norms are based on the scores of 729 defendants; score ranges for three levels of impairment (none or minimal, mild, and clinically significant) are provided for each measured ability.
- Validated with three groups of criminal defendants with varying competence levels and mental illness treatment histories.