Forensic psychology combines the study of psychology along with criminal law. Clinical psychologists working within the system are significant for the well-fare of some offenders. congruous with current research, they are doing significant such as justifying involuntary hospitalization, deciding if an individual is stable enough to face trial, if the transgressor was stable when they committed the crime, and if the person has suffered any harm thanks to trauma (Kramer, Bernstein, & Phares 2009). There are various things which will determine whether an individual will be exonerated, oftentimes this is where forensic psychology becomes essential in criminal trials.
There are two separate outcomes which will be given: there’s acquitted by reason of insanity (NGRI) and guilty but unsound (GBMI) (Kramer et al., 2009). If an individual is believed to possess a mental disorder, then we as a society find it inhumane to punish an individual if they did not know what’s was happening. If an individual that features a mental disturbance is sentenced, then they’re going to receive psychological state care in prison. this suggests that simply because someone features a mental disturbance it doesn’t mean they automatically get out of a punishment. But if they are doing have a mental disturbance, they have to be coherent enough to be ready to stand trial. “In the US, it’s not permissible to continue criminal proceedings against a defendant who is unable to know the character and purpose of these proceedings” (Kramer et al., 2009). A forensic psychologist would be ready to decide if the person is coherent and conscious of what’s happening. An individual applying forensic psychology must have knowledge within the following areas; clinical, forensic, and legal (“Public Description of Forensic Psychology,” n.d.).
Forensic psychologists can work with cases which will either be civil or criminal. Working with civil matters can range from child custody battles to workers compensation, and criminal matters affect crimes that are committed. The APA says, “The procedures and techniques of forensic psychology specialize in the evaluation and treatment of clinical disorders and other relevant characteristics during a legal context, and on providing reports, expert testimony, and consultations on relevant findings” (“Public Description of Forensic Psychology,” n.d.). A major a part of a forensic psychologist’s job is assessing competence. If the defendant isn’t conscious of the crime that was committed, then they can’t be placed on the stand. this will be difficult to try to sometimes because there’s no set standards on the way to do that (Rubenzer, 2002). There are several things which will be found by doing a competency test. If the forensic psychologist does an intelligence test and therefore the defendant appears to be people, then it are often proved that the person didn’t fully understand what was happening . “Assessments typically used include a structured interview also as intelligence tests (usually either the Wechsler intelligence quotient Scale or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale), and a number of other personality assessments like the Minnesota Multiphasic personality assessment (MMPI-2)” (Kramer et al., 2009).
Another severe mental disturbance which will cause incompetence in people is schizophrenia. this is often where the personality tests inherently play an important role in finding out whether or not an individual is mentally there or not. When the defendant is found incompetent and therefore the crime isn’t very serious then sometimes the fees are going to be dropped. If the crime is serious then they’re going to give the defendant medication to form them competent. “Most incompetent defendants are restored to competency through psychotropic medications, once recovered they are returned to jail to await trial” (Kramer et al., 2009). Consistent with Steve Rubenzer in his article “Competency to face Trial,” he says that if the defendant is found incompetent they’re going to be sent to the state psychiatric hospital until they become competent, then they’re going to be placed on trial (Rubenzer, 2002). These competency tests are extremely important because sometimes offenders will say that they’re incompetent or insane when they aren’t. These assessments are excellent at knowing when someone is faking a mental disease. “To accomplish this task, a spread of methods are used, including a review of the defendant’s family, educational, employment, and medical history; ascertaining if the defendant features a history of prior criminality or mental disturbance and treatment” (Kramer et al., 2009).
Psychologists can gain tons of data about a person from their family and other records, and if they have evidence of a mental disturbance then these are good ways to begin in gaining such evidence. If an individual is to plead acquitted by reason of insanity, they’re saying that they do not understand that what they have done is a crime and therefore, cannot be held liable for a criminal offense. Criminals are considered guilty and liable for the crime that they committed (Kramer et al., 2009). The foremost famous rule for insanity is that the McNaughton rule. Daniel McNaughton was a person in Great Britain who killed the secretary of the prime minister. After examining him they acknowledged that he was a paranoid schizophrenic and he thought that the prime minister was after him. So, in his eyes he felt like his crime was self-defense. due to this he was sent to a psychiatric hospital rather than prison. The McNaughton rule says that an individual is taken into account sane unless proven otherwise (“The ‘insanity defense’,” n.d.). Furthermore, the courts had to possess something enforceable that each one the states could pass that would prove that somebody wasn’t sane. There’s a federal rule now called Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which says that so as to be considered insane the person has got to have proof. There has got to be evidence that at the time of the crime the person didn’t understand what was happening (“The ‘insanity defense’,” n.d.).
A forensic psychologist is in a position to offer these competency tests and report back whether the offender is competent or not. This is often a really important part of the court process and therefore the job of the forensic psychologist becomes essential. Guilty but unsound means the person is sentenced to time in prison like anybody else would be, but they are required to receive psychological state treatment. Another thing that forensic psychologists need to do is be ready to predict future behavior. If someone has committed a criminal offense and that they are found to possess a mental disturbance, then the question of dangerousness is then relevant. The overall public, thanks to media, is under the influence that an individual who features a mental disturbance is dangerous.
So, it’s the psychologist’s job to make a decision whether or not an individual are often placed back to society, or if they’re too dangerous and wish to be placed somewhere where they will be cared for. Another factor of how dangerous an individual is that of the likely hood that they will commit suicide. The psychologist may need to make a choice on whether or not an individual is dangerous to themselves. This is often important due to the guilt factor which will come if the person does undergo thoughts of suicide. Moreover, psychological autopsies also are a neighborhood of a forensic psychologist’s job. Consistent with the encyclopedia of death and dying, and psychological autopsy is “a procedure for investigating a person’s death by reconstructing what the person thought, felt, and did preceding his or her death” (‘Autopsy, Psychological,’ n.d.).
When doing a psychological autopsy it’s also important that relationships of the victim such as family and friends are spoken to . By speaking with people that are close to the victim the psychologist can find out whether or not this person had a mental disturbance. Psychologists also are needed in some cases to make certain that it really was suicide and not a homicide (Kramer et al., 2009). If someone was killed and it’s trying to be covered up as a suicide, then they might need a psychologist to try to assist with a psychological autopsy and see if there’s any evidence leading towards murder. Another reason a psychological autopsy would be necessary is “to decide whether a deceased individual had the competence necessary to competently execute or modify a will” (Kramer et al., 2009).
People in today’s world would go to extreme lengths to obtain wealth and it’s important to formulate the correct back-story to ensure that an individual really did pass on from suicide and did not suffer for a monetary gain for somebody else. Psychological autopsies also can be done to ascertain if there have been any work-related conditions that would have contributed to the person’s suicide (Kramer et al., 2009). If the work was too stressful and there was an excessive amount of pressure, then this might be one among the causes of suicide. When trying to work out the rationale of why someone would have wanted to discontinue their own life, all factors need to be considered. This is often why these autopsies are so essential. When it involves their validity, however, there’s little evidence which will really tell how good these autopsies are in concluding the real explanation for the deceased’s death (Kramer et al., 2009). This becomes a drag within the court room when the autopsy is all the judge and jury need to pass.
A forensic psychologist may also need to apply their knowledge using something called criminal profiling. This is often where the person is unknown and therefore the psychologist is working on obtaining a collaboration of information with the individual’s behaviors and motives to undertake and find out the identity of the person (Kramer et al., 2009). This system started becoming more popular within the mid-1900s and is slowly growing. “Today, the main source of research and development on criminal profiling is that the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit” (Kramer et al., 2009). These profilers have only been performing on a little number of cases and therefore the validity is questionable. Sometimes the profiles are often wrong and may be creating a stigma about certain groups of people (Kramer et al., 2009).
Another aspect of being a forensic psychologist involves child custody disputes. “Sometimes clinicians are asked to conduct evaluations of parental fitness” (Kramer et al., 2009). These clinicians decide if the kid is being well cared for and is safe in their own home. If there are questions to the child’s well-being, then they’ll be placed in temporary care. The precise guidelines are different for every state, but all have the child’s best interests in mind. “As in most other states, the proof must be “clear and convincing which is quantified as a 75% likelihood” (Kramer et al., 2009). Child custody evaluations also are an enormous a part of a forensic psychologist’s job. These evaluations, “offer recommendations to assist a court in settling disputes over which parent can best meet the children’s needs and which, should retain custody of them” (Kramer et al., 2009). This happens during tons of divorce cases when there are children involved.
The psychologist decides if there should be joint or sole custody, and which situation would best meet the child’s needs. This often becomes a difficult situation because nobody wants their child taken from them. “Clinicians who conduct custody evaluations must therefore brace themselves for all kinds of attacks on their clinical methods, scholarly competence, personal character, and professional ethics” (Kramer et al., 2009). Being a forensic psychologist has many various components. I personally believe that this is often a stimulating career choice, and at time a stressful but extremely rewarding. A forensic psychologist is significant within the court room when there are any questions of the offender having a mental disturbance. When there’s a suspicious suicide a forensic psychologist may bring peace of mind to the family and friends. They also become important to children during child custody battles. It’s up to them to create certainty that the right decision has been formed. Forensic psychologists are vital to the well-being of our society.