The production of psychological knowledge and its application to the civil and criminal justice systems.
Broad definition of forensic psychology
1) research endeavor that examines aspects of human behavior directly related to the legal processes
2) the professional practice of psychology within a legal system that embraces both civil and criminal law
Narrow definition of forensic psychology
Clinical psychologists who are engaged in clinical practice within the legal system
5 subspecialties of forensic psychology
1) police and public safety psychology
2) legal psychology
3) psychology of crime and delinquency
4) victimology and victim services
5) correctional psychology
Police and public safety psychologists may be asked to do
- Determining optimal shift schedules for police employees.
- Establish reliable and valid screening procedures for public safety officer positions.
- Fitness-for-duty evaluations of officers after a critical incident
- Train police officers on how to assist persons with mental illness.
- Counseling and debriefing services to officers after a shooting incident.
- Support services to the families of law enforcement officers.
- Inform police of the research evidence regarding the reliability of eyewitness identification and suggest ways of optimizing accurate memory of an event.
Legal psychologists may be asked to do
- Child custody evaluations, visitation risk assessments, and child abuse evaluations.
- Assist attorneys in jury selection through community surveys.
- Evaluations of a defendant’s competency to stand trial.
- Testify at a trial in which the defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
- Evaluate civil capacities, such as the capacity to make a will or consent to treatment.
- Submit briefs to appellate courts summarizing the research adolescent brain development.
- Assess hardships suffered by individuals threatened with deportation during immigration proceedings.
- Consult with attorneys and other participants in military courts.
Psychologists of crime and delinquency may be asked to do
- Evaluate the effectiveness of intervention strategies designed to prevent violent behavior during adolescence.
- Conduct research on the development of psychopathy.
- Consult with legislators and governmental agencies as a research policy advisor on responses to stalking.
- Consult with school personnel on identifying troubled youth who are a potential threat to other students.
- Develop a psychological measure for assessing risk of harm to self or others among persons with mental illness.
Victimology and victim services may be asked to do
- Evaluate persons who are the victims of crime or witnesses to crime.
- Conduct psychological assessments for personal injury matters related to auto accidents, product liability, sexual harassment and discrimination, medical negligence, worker’s compensation, or disability.
- Educate and train victim service providers on psychological reactions to criminal victimization, such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Conduct forensic assessments of victims of persecution and torture for evidence at immigration hearings.
- Assess, support, and counsel those who provide death notification services.
- Educate service providers on the impact of multiculturalism when victims seek mental health and support services.
Correctional psychologists may be asked to do
- Assess inmates entering jail or prison for both mental health needs and suitability for treatment and rehabilitation programs.
- Assess prisoners for risk in parole decision making.
- Assess violence risk in juveniles and adults.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of programs for juvenile and adult offenders, such as victim–offender reconciliation programs, sex offender treatment, violence prevention, or health education programs.
- Conduct sexually violent predator assessments.
- Establish reliable and valid screening procedures for correctional officer positions at correctional facilities.
- Offer mental health treatment to adults and juveniles in correctional settings.
Bachelor’s degree provides basic foundation in psychology
- Does not adequately prepare a person to be a professional psychologist.
- Minimal education requirement is a master’s degree
Practitioners or clinicians
Criteria to qualify for licensing
- Possession of a doctoral degree
Standards vs. guidelines
Expected to comply with standards
- Enforcement mechanism in place in case they do not
Guidelines are aspirational
- Strongly encouraged but not required
Police and public safety psychology
Branch of psychology for using on services provided to law enforcement personnel, including assessment, clinical treatment, and consulting on administrative matters.
Psychologists who work in law enforcement and public safety are involved in the following
- Screening and selection of personnel
2) clinical intervention
- Post-shooting incidents
3) operational support
- Hostage negotiation
4) organization consultation
- Gender issues and issues related to racial or ethnic minorities
Umbrella term for the scientific study of a wide assortment of topics reflecting the close relationship between psychology and the law.
These topics include…
- Comprehension of one’s legal rights, criminal responsibility (insanity defense), civil commitment, jury selection, jury and judicial decision making, child custody determinations, family law issues, eyewitness identification
Psychology of crime and delinquency
The science of the behavioral and mental processes of the adult and juvenile offender.
Concerned with how antisocial behavior is acquired, evoked, maintained, and modified
- Assumes that various criminal behaviors are acquired by daily living experiences
Victimology and victim services
The psychological and criminological study of crime victimization, including but not limited to characteristics of victims, victims’ rights, and victim assistance programs.
Study people who have experienced either actual or threatened physical, psychological, social, or financial harm as the result of a committed or attempted crime against them.
The branch of forensic psychology that interacts with prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities and programs, both in institutional and community settings. Correctional psychologists often prefer that term rather than forensic psychologist.
Services offered to detainees, prisoners, offenders…
- Assessment, crisis intervention, substance abuse treatment, reentry planning