Applied Science BTEC Nationals/Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology is the intersection between w:Psychology and the w:Criminal justice system. It involves understanding criminal law in the relevant jurisdictions in order to be able to interact appropriately with judges, attorneys and other legal professionals. An important aspect of forensic psychology is the ability to testify in court, reformulating psychological findings into the legal language of the courtroom, providing information to legal personnel in a way that can be understood. Further, in order to be a credible witness, for example in the United States, the forensic psychologist must understand the philosophy, rules and standards of the American judicial system. Primary is an understanding of the adversarial model under which the system function. There are also rules about hearsay evidence and importantly the exclusionary rule. Lack of a firm grasp of these procedures will result in the forensic psychologist losing credibility in the courtroom.
A forensic psychologist can be trained in clinical, social, organisational or any other branch of psychology. In the United States, the salient issue is the designation by the court as an expert witness by training, experience or both by the judge. Generally, a forensic psychologist is designated as an expert in a particular jurisdiction. The number of jurisdictions a forensic psychologist qualifies as an expert in increases with experience and reputation. Questions asked by the court of forensic psychologist are generally not questions regarding psychology but are legal questions and the response must be in language the court understands. For example a forensic psychologist is frequently appointed by the court to assess a defendant's competency to stand trial. The court also frequently appoints a forensic psychologist to assess the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the offence, that is the sanity or insanity (which relates to criminal responsibility). These are not psychological questions but rather legal ones. A forensic psychologist must be able to translate psychological information into a legal framework.
Forensic psychologists also provide sentencing recommendations, treatment recommendations and any other information the judge requests, such as questions regarding mitigating factors, assessment of future risk, and evaluation of witness credibility. Forensic psychology also involves training and evaluating police or other law enforcement personal, providing law enforcement with criminal profiles and in other ways working with police departments. Forensic psychologists work both with the Public Defender, the States Attorney, and private attorneys. Forensic psychologists help with jury selection.
Training and education 
Forensic psychologists may hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in clinical psychology, Social psychology, Organizational psychology, or Experimental psychology. In the United States, in order for a psychologist to practice as a forensic psychologist, it is preferable but not necessary that the individual be a state licensed psychologist and receive certification as a Diplomate in Forensic Psychology by the American Board of Forensic Psychology (although the latter is less important to judges). In courts in the United States, the ultimate authority is the judge. The judge may select whomever he or she sees fit to qualify as an expert. Ideally, the psychologist would have some years of postdoctoral experience in forensic psychology and have training and supervision in forensic psychology. However, practices vary from state to state and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In other countries, training and practitioner requirements vary. For example, in the United Kingdom, a person must obtain the Graduate Basis for Registration with the British Psychological Society--normally through an undergraduate degree. This would be followed by Stages 1 (academic) and 2 (supervised practice) of the Diploma in Forensic Psychology (which would normally take 3 years full time and 4 years part time). Assessment is via examination, research, supervised practice and the submission of a portfolio showing expertise across a range of criminological and legal applications of psychology. Once qualified as a "Chartered" psychologist (with a specialism in forensic psychology), a practitioner must engage in Continued Professional Development and demonstrate how much, of what kind, each year, in order to renew his/her practising certificate.
Forensic psychology practice 
Forensic psychologists perform several tasks within the criminal justice system. By far the largest is that of preparing for and providing testimony in the court room. This is a difficult task as attorneys have become sophisticated at undermining psychological testimony. Evaluating the client, preparing for testimony, and the testimony itself require the forensic psychologist to have a firm grasp of the law and the legal situation at issue in the courtroom, using the Crime Classification Manual and other sources.
An overriding issue in any type of forensic assessment is the issue of malingering and deception. A defendant may be intentionally faking a mental illness or may be exaggerating the degree of symptomatology. The forensic psychology must always keep this possibility in mind. Rarely is it good practice to confront the defendant with this suspicions, as once malingering is denied it is more difficult for the defendant to backtrack and admit it later. It is more constructive to suggest that perhaps the defendant is not revealing the whole truth. It is important if malingering is suspected to observe the defendant in other settings as it is difficult to maintain false symptoms consistently over time.
Competency evaluations 
If there is a question of the accused's competence to stand trial, a forensic psychologist is appointed by the court in to examine and assess the individual. The individual may be in custody or may be free on bail. Based on the forensic assessment, a recommendation is made to the court whether or not the defendant is competence to proceed to trial. If the defendant is not competent to proceed, the report or testimony will include recommendations for the interim period to attempt to have the individual become competent. Frequently this is a issue of the defendant complying with prescribed psychiatric medication for a period long enough for the medication to take effect. If the individual does not gain competence after a suitable period of time, that person may be involuntary committed, on the advice of a forensic psychologist, to a psychiatric treatment facility until such time as the individual is deemed competent.
Sanity evaluations 
The forensic psychologist may also be appointed by the court to evaluate the defendant's state of mind at the time of the offence. These are defendants who the judge, prosecutor or public defender believe, through personal interaction with the defendant or through reading the police report, this may be an issue at the time of the trial. Later in the judicial process, the defense attorney may decide to have the defendant plead not guilty by reason of insanity. In actual practice, this is rarely a plea in an actual trial. Usually any judgments about the defendant's state of mind at the time of the offence are made by the court before the trial process begins. 
Other evaluations 
Additionally, forensic psychologists are frequently asked to make an assessment of an individual's risk of re-offending or dangerousness. They also provide information and recommendations necessary for sentencing purposes, grants of probation, and the formulation of conditions of parole, which often involves an assessment of the offender's ability to be rehabilitated. They are also asked questions of witness credibility and malingering. They provide criminal profiles to law enforcement.
Ethical implications 
A forensic psychologist generally practices within the confines of the courtroom, incarceration facilities and other legal setting. It is important to remember that the forensic psychologist is equally likely to be testifying for the prosecution as for the defence attorney. A forensic psychologist does not take a side, as do the psychologists described below. The ethical standards for a forensic psychologist differ from those of a Clinical psychologist or other practicing psychologist because the forensic psychologist is not an advocate for the client and nothing the client says is guaranteed to be keep confidential. This makes evaluation of the client difficult, as the forensic psychologist needs and wants to obtain certain information while it is often not in the client's best interest to provide it. The client has no control over how that information is used. Despite the signing of a waiver of confidentiality, most clients do no realize the nature of the evaluative situation. Furthermore, the interview techniques differ from those typical of a clinical psychologist and require an understanding of the criminal mind and violent behavior. In addition, the forensic psychologist deals with a range of clients unlike those of the average practicing psychology. Because the client base is by and large criminal, the forensic psychologist is immersed in an abbnormal world. The population evaluated by the forensic psychologist is heavily weighted with specific personality disorders.
The typical grounds for malpractice suits also apply to the forensic psychologist, such as wrongful commitment, inadequate informed consent, duty and breach of duty, and standards of care issues. Some situations are more clear cut for the forensic psychologist. The duty to warn is generally not a problem because the client or defendant has already signed a release of information, unless the victim is not clearly identified and the issue of the identifiability of the victim arises. However, in general the forensic psychologist is less likely to encounter malpractice suits than a clinical psychologist. The forensic psychologist does have some addition professional liability issues. As mentioned above, confidentiality in a forensic setting is more complicated that in a clinical setting as the client or defendant as apt to misinterpret the limits of confidentiality despite being warned and signing a release.
See also 
- Nietzel, Michael (1986). Psychological Consultation in the Courtroom. New York: Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-030955-0.
- Blau, Theodore H. (1984). The Psychologist as Expert Witness. New York: John Wiley & Sons. pp. pp 19-25. ISBN 0-471-87129-X.
- "Speciality Guidelines for for Forensic Psychologists". http://www.ap-ls.org/links/currentforensicguidelines.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- Grisso, Thomas (1988). Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations: A Manual for Practice (1988 ed.). Sarasota FL: Professional Resource Exchang. ISBN 0-943158-51-6.
- Shapiro, David L. (1984). Psychological Evaluation and Expert Testimony. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-28183-8.
- Smith, Steven R. (1988). Law, Behavior, and Mental Health: Policy and Practice. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-7857-7.
- Jay, Ziskin (1981). Coping with Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony (3rd ed.). Venice, CA: Law and Psychology Press. ISBN 0-9603630-4-1.
- Douglas, John E. (1992). Crime Classification Manual. New York: Lexington Books. ISBN 0-02-874065-3.
- Bonnie, Richard J. (1997). Criminal Law. Westbury, NY: The Foundation Press. ISBN 1-56662-448-7.
- Rogers, Richard (1997). Clinical Assessment of Malingering and Deception. Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-173-2.
- Shapiro, David L. (1991). Forensic Psychological Assessment: An Integrative Approach. Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-205-12521-2.
- Rogers, Richard (1986). Conducting Insanity Evaluations. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-27945-0.
- Holmes, Ronald (1990). Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. ISBN 0-8039-3628-6.
- Meloy, J. Reid (1998). The Psychology of Stalking. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-490560-9.
- Ressler, Robert K. (1988). Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books. ISBN 0-669-16559-x.
- Brodsky, Stanley L. (1991). Testifying in Court: Guidlines and Maxims for the Expert Witness. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-55798-128-0.
- Datz, Albert J. (1989). ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards. Washington DC: American Bar Association. ISBN 0-89707-450-5.
- Gary, Melton (1997). Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-236-4.
- Toch, Hans (1992). Violent Men: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Violence. Washington, DC: The American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-55798-172-8.
- Toch, Hans (1989). The Disturbed Violent Offender. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04533-6.
- Cleckley, Hervey (1982). The Mask of Sanity. New York: Plume Publishing. ISBN 0-452-25341-1.
- Millon, Theodore (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-01186-X.
- Meloy, J. Reid (1996). The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamica, and Treatment. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. ISBN 0-87668-311-1.
Further reading 
- Adler, J. R. (Ed.). (2004). Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice. Cullompton: Willan.
- Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (1999). History of Forensic Psychology. In A. K. Hess & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of Forensic Psychology (2nd ed., ). London: John Wiley and Sons.
- Blackburn, R. (1996). What is forensic psychology? Legal and Criminological Psychology. 1996 Feb; Vol 1(Part 1) 3-16 .
- Dalby, J. T. (1997) Applications of Psychology in the Law Practice: A guide to relevant issues, practices and theories. Chicago: American Bar Association.
- Duntley, J. D., & Shackelford, T. K. (2006). Toward an evolutionary forensic psychology. Social Biology, 51, 161-165. Full text
- Gudjonsson, G. (1991). Forensic psychology - the first century. Journal of forensic psychiatry, 2(2), 129.
- G.H. Gudjonsson and Lionel Haward: Forensic Psychology. A guide to practice. (1998) ISBN 0-415-13291-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-415-13290-8 (hbk.)
- Ogloff, J. R. P., & Finkelman, D. (1999). Psychology and Law: An Overview. In R. Roesch, S. D. Hart, & J. R. P. Ogloff (Eds.), Psychology and Law the State of the Discipline . New York: Kluwer Academic Press.
- Ribner, N.G.(2002). California School of Professional Psychology Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-5948-0
- American Psychology - Law Society
- All About Forensic Psychology A comprehensive guide to the world of Forensic Psychology
- Juridical psychology
- Forensic Psychology Blog Regularly updated news and articles from the world of Forensic Psychology.
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
- UK Forensic PsychologyAdvice about Forensic Psychology from the British Psychological Society .
- Forensic Psychology Portal.
Adapted from w:Forensic psychology
Edexcel recommend the following resources.
Ainsworth P — Offender Profiling and Crime Analysis (Willan Publishing, 2001) ISBN 1903240212
Alison L — The Forensic Psychologist’s Casebook: Psychological Profiling and Criminal Investigation (Willan Publishing, 2005) ISBN 1843921014
Bartol C R — Criminal Behavior: A Psychosocial Approach (Prentice Hall, 2004) ISBN 0131850490
Blackburn R — The Psychology of Criminal Conduct: Theory, Research and Practice (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1995) ISBN 0471961752
Canter D — Criminal Shadows (Authorlink, 2001) ISBN 1928704212
Canter D and Alison L — Profiling Rape and Murder (Ashgate, 2006) ISBN 1840144955
Coolican H — Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology (Hodder Arnold, 2004) ISBN 0340812583
Stephenson G M — The Psychology of Criminal Justice (Blackwell Publishers, 1992) ISBN 0631145478
Towl G J and Crighton D A — The Handbook of Psychology for Forensic Practitioners (Routledge, 1996) ISBN 0415128889
Turvey B E — Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis (Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd, 2002) ISBN 0127050418
Journal of Behavioral Profiling
Journal of Investigative Psychology
Law and Human Behavior Legal and Criminological Psychology