Understanding Forensic Psychology
The responsibilities of a forensic psychologist can vary greatly but ultimately fall into one of two categories, depending on who is being assessed. When evaluating a person charged with a crime through a forensic evaluation, the psychologist is focusing on the thoughts and behaviors that led that individual to the current entanglement with the criminal justice system. Alternatively, when a victim is being evaluated, a forensic psychologist is more likely to be focused on how an event or series of events has impacted the well-being and livelihood of the individual or family in question.
The objective and subjective information gathered through forensic psychology assessments can be applied to ongoing profiles of certain types of criminals, leveraged in the courts during trial, used to advocate for an inmate or victim in future decisions, or even be relied on when determining an individual’s competency to stand trial. All of this is essential to the proper functioning of the American justice system, supporting the people’s constitutional right to a fair trial. Here’s how a forensic psychology assessment can support those in the legal system.
Assessing Risk of Violence
On the surface, forensic psychology assessments can be used to help parties understand the risk of future violence. This informed expert advice can help courts determine appropriate paths for sentencing, privileges, and community reintegration. With the data from a comprehensive forensic assessment, a psychologist can support decision-makers with facts about the past and present mental state of the individual in question and how that may affect future behaviors and inclinations.
Assessing Mental State
The mental state of an individual in the legal system is the cornerstone of nearly all decisions that will be made about a particular case. A psychological assessment can help quantify the mental acuity of an individual and guide future decisions about sentencing, asylum, and so much more through assessing and then carefully describing an interviewee’s level of orientation and cognitive state toward answering the ultimate question of whether they are capable of cooperating with counsel in their own defense.
Providing A Source of Objective Data
Court proceedings can be especially complex, considering many of the facts presented are skewed to the subjective and colored by the frame of reference within an adversarial system. Forensic psychological assessment can be especially valuable when it comes to assisting a jury and providing all the accurate insights necessary to make an informed decision about an individual’s mental well-being.
Forensic Psychology Assessments in Chicago From a Professional
There are a lot of factors that play into a psychological assessment, from a patient’s willingness to participate, to the information gleaned through a number of sessions. It’s important to work with a forensic psychologist who is experienced in this unique facet of psychology.
Whether you’re a victim of spousal abuse, a future citizen navigating the immigration system, or a lawyer preparing a case for trial, our team is here to guide you through the forensic psychology assessment process.
Contact us today to learn more.