Criminal Psychology is sometimes defined as "the application of psychological knowledge to the criminal justice system".
A vital aspect of criminal/forensic psychology is the ability to testify in court using the legal language of the court-room, and to be familiar with the rules & regulations, the standards and philosophy of the judicial system.
Criminal psychology is often applied across 3 main areas of the criminal justice system:Psychology And Crime Scene Investigation:
A psychologist with criminal experience is sometimes called in to help with Criminal Profiling in an attempt to identify and apprehend an unknown perpetrator by creating a psychological profile.
In the real world (as against the entertainment world of CSI, Profiler, and Silence of the Lambs)... most of the "criminal investigative analysis" is carried out by law enforcement officers trained in techniques developed largely by the FBI in the USA. Psychologists, however, seem to be used more extensively in the United Kingdom
If a psychologist's help is sought in developing the offender's profile, it is quite likely an outside academic or clinical psychologist will be brought in, rather than a Police Psychologist being on hand.
A psychologist's help is often sought in other areas as well such as to provide counselling to traumatized police officers, their families and victims, as well in the actual pre-evaluation of prospective police applicants.Psychology And The Court System.
Psychological research has helped in the development of interrogation and line-up techniques.
Criminal/forensic psychology may be used to determine if a defendant is mentally fit to stand trial, or able to make legal decisions on his or her own behalf. The psychologist may also be given the task of evaluating the mental state of the defendant at the time of the offense.
At times the defence will rely on a psychologist's evidence if the plea is "not guilty by reason of insanity", or to show mitigating factors such as childhood abuse that resulted in the offender suffering depression or social isolation. A psychologist can also be called upon for advice as how best to handle or approach a witness.
And potential jury members can also be screened by a psychologist to detect potentially prejudiced jurors.Psychology And Correctional Facilities.
The advice of a criminal psychologist may be sought at the end of the judicial process in relation to sentencing recommendations, appropriate psychological treatment required, whether the offender shows any true remorse, and the future risk to the community of the criminal re-offending.
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