Dr. Virginia Barber Rioja

Virginia Barber


Dr. Virginia Barber Rioja obtained her Ph.D in clinical forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Over the past 6 years, she has served as clinical director and co-chief of mental health for NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services, which oversees mental health treatment in the NYC jail system, as well as all court ordered forensic evaluations throughout the NYC court system (fitness to proceed and pre-sentencing evaluations). She is currently the assistant chief of forensic & related mental health services for CHS. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Psychology Department of New York University where she teaches in the graduate program, and a clinical instructor at Columbia University, where she provides supervision to clinical psychology doctoral students. She has over 15 years of experience working in correctional and forensic contexts. She worked as an attending psychologist in the forensic inpatient unit of Bellevue Hospital Center, as the clinical director of several mental health courts, diversion, and reentry programs in NYC, and as a consultant for the juvenile correctional facilities in Puerto Rico.

With the goal of bringing knowledge of forensic and correctional psychology to applied audiences and policy makers, Dr. Barber Rioja has provided a great deal of teaching to probation and parole officers, police and corrections officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges. Dr. Barber Rioja maintains a forensic independent practice involving immigration, state, and federal court cases. She has written multiple articles and presented in conferences nationally and internationally on topics related to forensic and correctional psychology. She is the first author of the book “Mental Health Evaluations In Immigration Court: A Guide For Mental Health and Legal Professionals” to be published by NYU Press in the summer of 2022, and first editor of the book “Mental Health Assessment and Treatment in Jails” to be published by Oxford Press in the fall of 2022.