Forensicpsychology is a relatively new field in the criminal justice system.It is comprised of numerous subspecialties making it hard todetermine a clear definition. These subspecialties includecorrectional, investigative, and juvenile psychology. Each of thesesubspecialties fulfills specific roles in the criminal investigativesystem with the hope of enhancing justice and security. Correctionalpsychologists assist inmates in character and behavior modification(Morgan et al., 2007). Their role is to defend the legal rights ofinmates, diagnose any psychological problems, and offer psychiatrichelp to affected inmates. The psychologist may face an ethicaldilemma where a criminal with cruel records requests for his help.This may be born out of distrust but the criminal is entitled to helpirrespective of the magnitude of his crime. For instance, in 2006, aforensic psychologist helped Erick Clark be released from jailbecause he determined that Clark had schizophrenia in the Clark v.Arizona case. Unresolved issues in this specialty include the abuseof inmates by the correctional officers. The psychologists may helpin this case through a risk assessment plan (Bartol & Bartol,2012, p.426).
Theinvestigative psychologist plays a major role in crime investigationduring pre-trial identification through various techniques such ascriminal profiling. He achieves this by conducting a thoroughcognitive and emotional analysis of the alleged criminal. Thepsychologist may also help in crime scene profile to offer the policeimportant information regarding the nature of the crime (Bartol,1996). This gives the police an upper hand in handling crime sincethey can have irrefutable evidence. For instance in 2002, a forensicpsychologist testified that the defendant should not be sentenced todeath due to a mild mentality problem in Atkins v. Virginia. Thissubspecialty may face an ethical challenge when the credibility ofthe forensic psychologist is in question. Some psychologists may alsobe persuaded to alter forensic evidence to favor the criminal or thepolice hence affecting the integrity of the analysis. This can behandled through audits of the psychologist to determine consistencyand accuracy of analysis. The unresolved issue in this case is theuse of the polygraph to detect false testimonies. The credibility ofthis device is in doubt and more analysis should be used to determinethe truth. The investigative psychologist may help in this case(Bartol & Bartol, 2012).
Thelast subspecialty is the juvenile psychology. This field is highlysignificant since it helps identify and correct criminal behavior injuveniles in order to control crime. It is also crucial is behaviorchange, and in protecting the rights of children by identifyingemotional abuse from an early stage (Bartol & Bartol, 2012, p.201). An ethical dilemma may arise if the psychologist becomesemotionally attached to one of his juvenile clients as this leads tobiased analysis. In this case, the psychologist must keep therelationship professional irrespective of the magnitude of the abusea child may be undergoing. Thus, he should be compassionate anddetached at the same time. The unresolved issue that the psychologistmay help with is to prevent the ill treatment of juvenile suspects,protect their rights, and ensure they are not under pressure to givea false testimony. Juvenile psychology was applied in the 2012 caseinvolving Kent v. United States whereby the juvenile wasrehabilitated in a mental institution rather than being sentenced toserve a jail term (Bartol & Bartol, 2012, p. 195).
Explainhow and why the American disability Association is relevant toforensic psychology professionals working in the police subspecialtyin the screening and selection of police officers
Thepolice subspecialty in forensic psychology is in charge of carryingout assessments and evaluations within the department of justice.This is important in the screening and selection processes of boththe criminals and police officers. The police subspecialty of theforensic psychologists helps enforce law psychologically by ensuringthe psychological fitness of new police recruits through screening.This can be achieved using specific screening tools. This helps theofficers separate the officers into two groups based on theirpersonalities. For instance, individuals with unstable emotions ormental state are often screened out while the stable ones arescreened in. this is significant in ensuring that the department ofjustice has mentally stable and mature employees who are able toensure national security (Bartol, 1996).
Theforensic officers in this subspecialty need to work hand-in-hand withthe American Disability Association in order to increase theeffectiveness of their goals. This handles the ethical dilemma issuespresented through coercion and forceful treatment when only thepolice interrogate the client. Involving professionals from Americandisability Association is important since the members are experiencedand qualified in this area. Further, the professionals may help incases of trauma by helping the officers recover quickly from theirstressful situations. Moreover, the Association offers guidelines onethical screening procedures for all psychological tests conducted.Compliance with these laws is essential in ensuring the policepsychologists treat individuals with disabilities rightfully byprotecting the rights of officers who are disabled in any way (Sutkeret al., 1994).
Bartol,C. R. (1996). Police Psychology: Then, Now, and Beyond. CriminalJustice and Behavior, 23(1),70-89. doi:10.1177/0093854896023001006
Bartol,C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2012). Introductionto Forensic Psychology Research and Application(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.
Morgan,R. D., Beer, A. M., & Fitzgerald, K. L. (2007). Graduate StudentsExperiences, Interests, and Attitudes Toward Correctional/ForensicPsychology. CriminalJustice and Behavior,34(1),96-107.
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