20 Hours | 20 CEs

This self-paced training program on Evaluations for High Stakes Sentencing is presented by Mark Cunningham, PhD, ABPP.

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases such as Woodson, Jurek, Atkins, and Miller mandated individualized sentencing when the death penalty is sought or a defendant is facing a life-without-parole for an offense committed as a juvenile. Mental health professionals are routinely called upon to assist in illuminating the associated considerations of moral culpability and specific deterrence. The course is divided into four modules, each focusing on a high stakes sentencing context or issue:

1. Evaluation for capital mitigation

2. Capital violence risk assessment for prison

3. Evaluation of intellectual disability

4. Evaluation in juvenile murder.

For each type of evaluation, Dr. Cunningham describes the conceptual underpinnings, evaluation procedures, relevant research literature, and presents an analysis/integration of case data. He provides extensive illustrations of how the findings can be effectively communicated in reports and through slide-assisted testimony.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the contrasting theories of the State and defense at capital sentencing and how these are operationalized in evidence and argument

  • Describe moral culpability and its relationship to choice

  • Describe the procedures in conducting an evaluation of capital mitigation

  • Describe four methodologies for violence risk assessment

  • Describe the various sources for rates of serious prison violence and specify the primary inmate-specific correlates

  • Describe the conceptual basis for the exclusion of persons with ID from death-sentencing

  • Describe the two sources for the primary diagnostic criteria for ID and their common elements

  • Describe the evolution of diagnostic criteria for ID from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5

  • Describe the four primary factors in brain maturation

  • Describe how brain immaturity impacts decision-making and susceptibility to peer influences

Presented By

Mark Cunningham, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Mark Cunningham is a clinical and forensic psychologist whose practice is national in scope. He is board-certified in clinical psychology and in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and is licensed in 17 states. Dr. Cunningham earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University and did postdoctoral study at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Collect Badges, Earn Certificates

This is a badge-earning course, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Intended Audience

    This self-paced course is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This self-paced course is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

  • CE / CPD Credit

    APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.


  • 1


    • Review Before Proceeding

  • 2


    • Lesson 1 Video

  • 3

    Sentencing Considerations

    • Lesson 2 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 4

    Violence and the Person

    • Lesson 3 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 5

    Capital Sentencing

    • Lesson 4 Video

    • Informed Consent

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 6

    Capital Sentencing-Theories and Conceptualizations

    • Lesson 5 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 7

    Capital Sentencing-Adverse Developmental Factors

    • Lesson 6 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 8

    US DOJ Models

    • Lesson 7 Video

    • Comprehensive Strategy

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 9

    ACEs Models

    • Lesson 8 Video

    • A little early risk goes a long bad way

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 10

    Violence Risk Assessment for Prison

    • Lesson 9 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 11

    Violence Risk Assessment for Prison - Jury Capability

    • Lesson 10 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 12

    Capital Sentencing - Assessment of Intellectual Disability

    • Lesson 11 Video

    • Atkins v. Virginia

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 13

    Flynn Effect

    • Lesson 12 Video

    • The Flynn Effect

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 14

    Wechsler vs. Stanford-Binet

    • Lesson 13 Video

    • Stanford-Binet and WAIS IQ

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 15

    Youth Sentencing - Pre-18

    • Lesson 14 Video

    • Social cognitive development during adolescence

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 16

    Vicarious Traumatization

    • Lesson 15 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 17


    • Instructions

    • Evaluation

    • Submission Verification

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

  • Expert Instructors

    Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

  • CE Credit

    Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

  • Convenience & Flexibility

    Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

Looking to train a group?

Custom training options for groups of 5 to 500+

Contact us to talk about group training rates and how we can make annual training and new staff onboarding simple!