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The Interesting Career of a Forensic Psychologist

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Forensic psychology is the point of intersection between the criminal justice system and psychology. Forensic psychology is concerned with the presentation, examination, and collection of psychological evidence for legal and judicial purposes. A forensic psychologist uses his or her psychological knowledge, skills, theory and the understanding of the way the criminal and legal justice system operates in relevant jurisdictions, to provide their expert opinion and observations. Along with making legal evaluations, a forensic psychologist has to interact with attorneys, judges, and many other legal professionals. In forensic psychology, a forensic psychologist must possess the ability or power to testify in a court when necessary and redevelop their psychological findings in a way that the information they provide to legal personnel is in the courtrooms legal language but easily understood. A forensic psychologist in the United States must display competency and understand the standards, rules, and philosophy of the American judicial system, such as their understanding and knowledge of the adversarial model on which the American system functions. A psychologist must understand exclusionary rule and the rules about hearsay evidence. Exclusionary rule or rule of evidence provides that they cannot use admissible evidence resulting from illegal police conduct in court at a criminal trial. A forensic psychologist that does not have a firm grasp or understanding of these procedures will lose credibility in court.

The training of a forensic psychologist can be in organizational, clinical, social or other psychology branches. The court judge designates the salient issue in the United States as an expert witness, due to the forensic psychologists experience and training. Although they usually delegate a psychologist to only one jurisdiction as an expert, he or she may qualify in a number of jurisdictions depending upon their reputation, experience, and expertise. The courts frequently appoint a forensic psychologist to assess:

• The competency of a defendant to stand trial
• Evaluate a defendants state of mind when he or she committed a criminal offense, which is commonly referred to as evaluating a defendant’s insanity or sanity

The questions they ask the forensic psychologist in the courtroom are primarily legal rather than psychological questions, so he or she must have the ability to translate the information gathered into a legal framework. Forensic psychologists provide information requested by the judge including recommendations for treatment or sentencing; mitigating factors; witness credibility evaluation; and future risk assessment. Forensic psychology often involves training law enforcement personal such as the police or assisting with jury selection. A forensic psychologist often works with the states attorney, public defender, and private attorneys.





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