What are the main responsibilities for a forensic psychologist?

What are the main responsibilities for a forensic psychologist?

Forensic psychology is a rather young and evolving career avenue, which has shown steady growth and promise over the past decade. It’s precisely the foray of psychology and its finer aspects of situational profiling of subjects into: law enforcement, criminal investigation and the judiciary system, at large. Forensic psychologists are enlisted with the responsibility of applying functional knowledge of psychology, to the criminal instances at hand, and thereby help the police, criminal judiciary or/and defendant toward identifying, indemnifying and ascertaining the consistency or relevancy of accusation or the stand upheld by the defendant.

They often need to ascertain the mental competency of suspects and potential witnesses and must have an extremely strong understanding of the laws and the judiciary system. Forensic psychologists have a very discrete sense of actionable instruction set or rules to adhere and abide by. Their job is extremely objective, contrary to the principles of psychology and its auxiliary subjects, which implies an abstinence from empathy towards subjects.

Intricately threaded in the education imparted in the forensic psychology graduate program, this objectivity is aligned towards finding ways of reaching a conclusive proof of prosecution or defense (depending upon the side they are on), based upon the available set of evidence, exigent circumstances, witness accounts, witness interviews, suspect profiles, medical records, and all pertinent information on the case. Among other responsibilities, some involve them to decide and select the jury for a trial, in accordance with the history and understood psychological condition of the defendant/accused so as to organize a fair trial.

The scope of work for a forensic psychologist is extremely broad but the actual domain of practice is very discrete; and can only be surmised in accordance to the area of jurisdiction he/she specializes: namely juvenile crime, mass fraud, dysfunctional murderers, etc among a few types. Hence, the forensic psychology graduate program would also be very focused upon the typical choice of specialization chosen by the candidate during study. Essentially, a forensic psychology graduate program hence must encompass cognitive, clinical, social, developmental, criminal investigative, and abnormal psychology as prime and tertiary subjects.

One very important responsibility of forensic psychologists is the strong grasp and understanding of the criminal justice system of a state/country they practice in. This apart, he/she must understand and cultivate the primary philosophies premeditated in the judiciary system; take into consideration the societal values and thereafter, frame his analysis of the subject in accordance with the aforementioned points. Moreover, the importance of understanding legal and adversarial terminologies is crucial since, often, the forensic psychologists are meant to position themselves as expert witnesses or court liaisons.

In such instances, it is the forensic psychologist’s responsibility to restructure his/her finding, analysis and hearsay in strict legal language so as to appease the court/jury or the judiciary house. This hence, makes it imperative for the forensic psychology graduate program undertaken, to include a large chunk of the judicial system, criminal laws, methods of prosecution, etc like criminology, statistics and criminal law.

Apart from the above mentioned responsibilities, mostly the scope of the job dictates the responsibilities entrusted. Some find themselves in criminal and convict correctional facilities, wherein they are responsible for the conditioning and improvement of criminals to correct their behavior and make them good citizens. Victim advocacy, research on improvement of interrogation techniques, handling of criminals, etc are also some other research based opportunities for someone who becomes a forensic psychologist.