Our world today is rapidly progressing. It has massively evolved over the years, and so has its needs and requirements. Consequently, a myriad of newer fields has now come into existence. Some of these innovative disciplines include artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, data analytics, forensic psychology, etc. These fields offer a greater variety of skills and knowledge base, which are necessary for future advancements. But for our discussion at present, we will explore what forensic psychology is, how you can become a forensic psychologist, and how it is crucial in the criminal justice system.
WHAT IS FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY?
Forensic psychology, like the name suggests, involves the implementation of psychology in the legal field. It involves the mental assessment of individuals such as criminals by the law to investigate lawsuits further.
Forensic psychology is the study of breaking down the behaviors of individuals who commit crimes and assess what makes them do it. It is a booming field, and in the future, we can expect it to grow manifold. However, this role is not restricted to criminals. Forensic psychologists are also in demand in health facilities, the private sector, school administration, etc.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME A FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST?
To become a practicing forensic psychologist, you will most probably need to acquire a professional degree, diploma, or certification. The authority in control often regulates it, and it may be best if you check in your country. For example, in the US, the American Psychological Association (APA) considers forensic psychology a professional field. Hence, it requires aspiring forensic psychologists to finish a graduate research program and a recognized internship. Only then can they become forensic psychologists and work in related roles.
If you wish to pursue a doctorate in forensic psychology, getting a master's may be mandatory. However, the best way to make a career in this field is to enroll in an offline or online forensic psychology degree and opt for a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Once you complete your bachelor's, you can opt for other, more advanced programs.
WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF A FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST?
The roles performed by forensic psychologists are diverse. Most significantly, such professionals help create criminal profiles for law enforcement agencies. These profiles are built based on specific personality traits. Since forensic psychologists study clinical psychology, they are apt in understanding the behaviors of individuals. They can break down why a criminal commits a crime, what type of people are more vulnerable to falling into criminal doings, and also how to minimize crime from happening.
Moreover, forensic psychologists are responsible for assessing the mental stability standing of the criminals standing for trial. They also judge whether they are in a mental frame to answer the court. Also, they must evaluate whether criminals show signs of any psychological disorders. These professionals are also often associated with individuals that require therapy sessions. These scenarios include proceedings involving law enforcement agencies, such as the police or the court.
Additionally, the role of forensic psychologists include:
- Conducting child custody evaluations
- Perform visitation risk assessments
- Offer testimonies in lawsuits
- Handling custody cases
- Offer psychotherapy facilities in family court, etc.
WHY ARE FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGISTS IMPORTANT?
Forensic psychologists possess some valuable skills that can help in improving the criminal justice system. These include:
I. Judging The Mental State Of Criminals
Often individuals commit crimes under pressure or when their minds are not in a stable state. Such criminals are liable to reduced charges as compared to a rational individual. In such a situation, forensic psychologists can assess the criminal's mental condition and conclude whether they are in their right mental state or not. It can help devise suitable punishments for criminal offenses.
II. Can Provide Additional Evidence
Statements given by forensic psychologists can prove as additional evidence to ease the jury's decision-making. Often lack of evidence can make the case confusing. A few loopholes and the decision can completely alter. It is here when forensic psychologists can provide help by giving their statements and giving further insights into the criminal's behavior and their intention of committing the crime.
III. Advising The Type Of Treatment In Prison
Many criminals who have a disturbed mental state are vulnerable to self-harm or also harming other prisoners. Such individuals get separate rooms with designated settings depending on their cognitive needs. Forensic psychologists can advise on the appropriate location for such criminals and the best punishment fit for them.
Forensic psychologists can better the judicial system by providing a few benefits like the ones mentioned above. A judicial system has to be complete and definite before it is capable of sentencing criminals. And this is where forensic psychologists help the court define the crimes committed and the punishments.
Forensic psychology is the study of criminal behavior. It helps the judicial system make better decisions by adding clinical assessments to the lawsuits. It is a budding field of career and ideal for individuals who love psychology and the law. If you wish to pursue a career in this field, we recommend you go ahead! You can pick a suitable diploma or degree from the numerous available and make your dream come to life!