Forensic psychology has played a large role in the criminal justice field over the years. In order to fully understand how it has affected the field, one must first understand its role. Forensic psychology is a unique, yet crucial blend of both psychology and the criminal justice system.
What is Forensic Psychology?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), forensic psychology is, “is the application of clinical specialties to the legal arena” (APA). This definition is somewhat vague, as forensic psychology has a huge effect on the world, as we know it. This practice can help determine whether or not criminals are convicted, or if they are forgiven for their actions.
Where is Forensic Psychology Used?
The APA goes on to describe that “forensic psychologists perform such tasks as threat assessment for schools, child custody evaluations, competency evaluations of criminal defendants and of the elderly, counseling services to victims of crime, death notification procedures, screening and selection of law enforcement applicants, the assessment of post-traumatic stress disorder and the delivery and evaluation of intervention and treatment programs for juvenile and adult offenders.” (APA). Therefore, forensic psychology is a practice used more frequently than one might imagine. It is not only used in the courtroom, but also in schools, in the field of social work, in a counselor’s office, and more.
Forensic psychologists must earn their doctorate degrees as they are psychologists dealing with the legal aspects of mental function. However, earning a doctorate degree is a long process that requires stepping stones; obtaining an associates or bachelors in criminal justice is a good start!
How has it Shaped the Study of Criminal Justice?
Solving crimes has evolved as forensic psychology emerged. Getting to the bottom of the psychological components that drive individuals to act has never been the same. What makes forensic psychology interesting is that individuals are studying the minds and compelling forces of other individuals in order to determine what led them to commit a crime.
In other words, this practice leads to not only an investigation of the crime, but an investigation of the person behind it, too. Forensic psychology plays an important role in determining why a person committed a crime, and whether or not they can be charged for it.
For example, most English-speaking individuals have heard the word “insanity.” However, this word is not a psychological term, but a legal one. This word is used to determine whether or not an individual was aware of his/her choices while committing a crime, or if the repercussions of his/her actions were unclear to them.
If a person is determined guiltless, as a crime was committed, he/she can be categorized as legally insane. Therefore, his/her consequences will be different than those of a person who was in his/her right mind while committing a criminal act.
In the United States, a person cannot be charged for a crime if he/she was determined to be legally insane at the time of the crime. This is just one prime example of how forensic psychologists affect America’s criminal justice system. Justice is still achieved, but in a different way — a way that is more appropriate regarding their state of mind during the time of the act. Often, professionals examine these individuals in a mental health facility.
Why Choose to Study Criminal Justice
Nationwide, criminal justice is a labor intensive, growth industry. Careers in criminal justice (especially corrections) continue to show strong growth. Not only that, but individuals who are genuinely interested in the field should consider it—students should be passionate about their studies!
What to Do With a Degree in Criminal Justice
Although a large number of criminal justice majors tend to have a preference for law enforcement, others find careers in prisons, the military, community corrections, court administration, academia, or more. Government positions in criminal justice are available at the local, county, state and federal levels, and private security is a growing and important source of jobs for criminal justice students.
About the Criminal Justice Program at Florida National University (FNU)
FNU’s Criminal Justice Program includes the study of law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Reading, writing, and critical thinking skills are essential to successful completion of this degree, as well as successful careers in criminal justice.
Students are expected to strengthen these skills throughout the degree program.
Criminal Justice has become one of the most popular undergraduate majors in the United States; it is a dynamic field that includes the study of the agencies and procedures set up to manage both crime and the persons accused of violating the criminal law. If you are interested in studying criminal justice, consider Florida National University!