Division of Psychiatry and the Law


In 2016, the Division of Psychiatry and the Law was created with four strategic pillars in mind: Forensic Assessment and Expert Consultation, Psychiatry and the Law Research and Scholarship, Psychiatry and the Law Education, and Clinical Excellence. 

About Forensic Psychiatry

Forensic psychiatry is broadly defined as an area of medicine where mental health or psychiatric considerations intersect with the legal system. Forensic mental health and medical experts often evaluate and treat individuals for a variety of civil and criminal concerns. 

Forensic Assessment and Expert Consultation

The Division specializes in evaluations, consultation, and expert testimony in the areas of:

  • Civil and Criminal Decisional Capacity
  • Asylum and Immigration
  • Workers Compensation Claims
  • Fitness for Duty
  • Insanity or Extreme Emotional Disturbance Defense
  • Sexual Offender/Recidivism/Treatment
  • Risk Assessment/Mitigation
  • Criminal Competency
  • Veteran’s Benefit’s
  • Firearm Permitting
  • Sentencing and Treatment Recommendations, and others
  • Psychological Harm

Research and Scholarship 

Click to view research publications

Bonetti J., Ethics Case Report: Withholding Non-Futile Life Support After Attempted Suicide: Legal and Ethical Considerations; Connecticut Medicine, 86:1: 80-82, 2022

Tabaja F., Bonetti J., Book Review: Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us; Books and Media Review, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 48:3: 416-418, 2020

Bonetti J., Book Review: Sexual Offending, Predisposing Antecedents, Assessments and Management; Books and Media Review, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 47:1:128-130, 2019

Bonetti J., Book Review: The Expert Expert Witness: More Maxims and Guidelines for Testifying in Court; Books and Media Review, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 46:4:560-561, 2018

Bonetti J., Trueblood K., Lay Witness Testimony is Substantial and Competent in Determination of Elder Abuse.  J Am Acad Psychiatry Law; 42:1:111-113, 2014

Bonetti J., Dreisbach V., Ready or Not? Expert Testimony in Competency Proceedings. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law; 41:1:123-125, 2013

Gallego J., Bonetti J., Zhang J., Kane J., Correll C., Prevalence and Correlates of Antipsychotic Polypharmacy: A Systematic Review and Meta-regression of Global and Regional Trends from the 1970s to 2009.  Schizophrenia Research; Volume 138, Issue 1, pp. 18-28

Festinger, D. S., Lipkin, J. L., Flack, D. J., DeMatteo, D., & Dugosh, K. L. (2023). Key considerations for pre-arrest diversion programs. In D. DeMatteo & K. Scherr (Eds)., Oxford handbook of psychology and law. Oxford University Press.

LaDuke, C., DeMatteo, D., Marczyk, G., Knauss, L., Flack, D., & Heilbrun, K. (2023). The legal, ethical, and applied aspects of capital mitigation evaluations: Practice guidance from a principles-based approach.  In H. Hall (Ed.), Forensic psychology and neuropsychology for criminal and civil cases (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.

DeMatteo, D., Haney-Caron, E., & Flack, D. (2019). The next steps forward in determining “What works.”. Clinical Psychology Science and Practice, 26(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/cpsp.12285

Arnold, S., Flack, D., & Heilbrun, K. (2018). Risk assessment and juvenile resentencing: A critical analysis. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 36(5), 576-586. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2375

Fishel, S., Flack, D., & DeMatteo, D. (2018, January). Computer risk algorithms and judicial decision-making. American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology49(1), 35. Accessed at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/01/jn.aspx

Flack, D., & Dakwar, E. (2016). Chapter 63 - Ketamine usage at subanesthetic doses and psychoactive effects. In V. Preedy (Ed.), Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse (pp. 681-688). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-800212-4.00063-7

Malka, A.,  Baranoski, M., Competency to Proceed Pro Se and Plead Guilty to a Capital Offense, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, Mar 2023, 51 (1) 142144; DOI: 10.29158/JAAPL.23005L4-23

Education and Training 

  • The division is open to medical students, psychology trainees and psychiatry residents for an elective experience to learn the basics around forensic assessment, forensic treatment, testimony, and legal considerations in psychiatric clinical practice.   

  • The division has presented locally, statewide, and nationally and welcomes invitations to teach on a variety of medico-legal topics.

Click to view past presentations

Bonetti J., Sicily-Rogers M., “Risk Assessment and Threat Mitigation” Institute of Living Psychology Department Meeting, October 3, 2023

Bonetti J., “The Leaders  Role in Preventing Violence” Hartford Health Care-Behavioral Health Network Purple Light Symposium, Hartford Hospital, September 29, 2023

Bonetti J., Fumiatti, M., McIntosh, P., Wichowski B., Fitzner A., Alvord S., “Mental Health and Law Enforcement” FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit Symposium, Coast Guard Academy, June 22, 2023

Bonetti J., Melchiorri V. “NGRI Affirmative Defense” Presented to Harford Judicial District Prosecutors, Hartford Superior Court, June 5, 2023

Tabaja F., Nett A., Ming S., Young K., O’Sullivan D., Bonetti J., “Evolution of Mental Capacity During Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment And the Prognostic Potential of Serial Capacity Determinations” Poster Presentation at American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Annual Meeting, October  21, 2021

Bonetti J., Jacobs B., Fox E., “Clinical Ethics: Patients with Infective Endocarditis and Substance Use Disorder.” Hartford Hospital’s Clinical Ethics Rounds, September, 2019

Bonetti J., “Risk Assessment and Duty to Warn: An Ethical and Legal Perspective” Maine Medical Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, March 5, 2019

Bonetti J., Jacobs B., “Ethics Associated with Treatment Refusals” Hartford Hospital’s Clinical Ethics Rounds, February, 2019

Bonetti J., Pogge D., Loftus M., Walker S., Young K., “Risk Assessment and Duty to Warn: An Ethical and Legal Perspective”; panel discussion, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting- Seattle, Washington, October 22-27, 2018

Bonetti J., “Who Comes First? A Provider’s Obligation in an Active Shooter Scenario”;  Institute of Living- Grand Rounds, January, 2017 and Hartford Hospital’s Clinical Ethics Rounds December, 2016

Bonetti J., Simonello M., Oberleitner L., “Sovereign Citizens and Competency to Stand Trial”; Poster Presentation at American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Annual Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, October 22-25, 2015

Lankford, C., Fishel, S., Charles, D., Flack, D., Parker, L., Swenson, A., Wiltsie, K., & Heilbrun, K. (2021). Reentry services and telehealth: Problems, impact, possible solutions, and research implications. [Poster Presentation] 2021 Annual Conference of The American Psychology-Law Society (APA. Div. 41).

Flack, D. (2017, March). Psychobehavioral subgroups within individuals with severe mental illness and risk of violence: A latent profile analysis of the Macarthur Risk Assessment Dataset [Poster presentation]. Annual meeting of The American Psychology-Law Society, Seattle, WA.

Treatment Research Institute, Flack, D., & DeMatteo, D. (2016, October). Diverting Substance-involved Offenders to Treatment at the Point of Arrest Using Evidence-based Assessment: Annotated Bibliography on Diversion Programs. Philadelphia, PA: Treatment Research Institute.

Our Staff

Dr. John Bonetti
John Bonetti, DO
Forensic Psychiatrist,
Director of Division of Psychiatry and the Law

View John's bio

Dr. Bonetti completed his medical training at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and joined the Institute of Living as a resident physician in 2009.  Following graduation from the IOL’s Adult Residency Program, he pursued subspecialty training in Forensic Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.  He returned to the Institute of Living following graduation and served as an Inpatient Psychiatrist for two years before transitioning to outpatient and forensic work.  He has been a member of the Hartford Hospital Ethics Committee and served as an Operational lead for the BRIGHT Initiative, a three-year project aimed at reducing violence on inpatient psychiatric units. He has served as faculty in the adult psychiatry residency, presented nationally, and has several publications related to his interests in medical ethics and forensic psychiatry.  He currently serves as the Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Law and an Assistant Medical Director at the Institute of Living.  He holds an Assistant Professorship in Psychiatry at the Uconn School of Medicine and maintains Board Certifications in both Adult and Forensic Psychiatry.

Dr. John Bonetti
Ashley Malka, MD
Forensic Psychiatrist

View Ashley's bio

Dr. Ashley Malka obtained her medical degree at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva, Israel, with an emphasis on Global Health. She went on to complete her residency training in psychiatry at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry Residency Program, and then forensic psychiatry subspecialty training at the Yale University School of Medicine, Division of Law and Psychiatry. Her primary interests within the field of psychiatry include trauma and dissociative disorders, their overlap with psychotic disorders, and the implications of that overlap in the legal system. Additionally, due in part to her unique experience with global medicine and her international education pathway, she has a particular interest in cross-cultural psychiatry and the psychiatric impact of forced displacement and migration. She has presented nationally and maintains Board Certification in Adult Psychiatry and is in the process of obtaining Board Certification in Forensic Psychiatry.

Dr. Daniel Flack
Daniel Flack, PhD, JD
Forensic Psychologist,

View Daniel's bio

Dr. Flack is a clinical psychologist who completed a joint JD/PhD training program specializing in forensic psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He completed several years of training in inpatient settings, and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Living adult inpatient units. He currently sits on the Hartford Hospital Ethics Committee, contributes to the BRIGHT initiative to reduce violence on inpatient units, and is a committee member for the Braindance award, a high school program focused on challenging behavioral health stigma. He works clinically from a trauma-informed perspective and utilizes both shorter term cognitive and behavioral interventions, as well as more in depth formulations of personality-related experiences for longer term care. Dr. Flack also has academic interests in understanding and managing aggression (and relevant limitations in our ability to do so) and the intersection of legal systems with behavioral health needs.

Referrals or Requests for Services

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