Criminal Psychology Level 4
Criminal Psychology Level 4
Psychologists are licensed professionals whose assessments can include both mental and physical states. They aid in the attempt to answer the most common psychological questions: If there is a risk of an individual re-offending if put back in society; if an offender is competent to stand trial; whether or not an offender was sane/insane at the time of the offense.
The question of a person’s capability to stand trial is a question of the offender’s current state of mind. Therefore, the offender’s ability to understand the charges against them, possible outcomes of being convicted/acquitted and their ability to assist their attorney with their defence, must be assessed. The question of a person’s sanity/insanity or criminal responsibility is an assessment of the offender’s state of mind at the time the crime was committed. This will usually refer to their ability to understand what is right from what is wrong. The insanity defence is rarely used due to it being very difficult to prove. An offender declared insane will be committed to a secure hospital facility usually for much longer than they would serve in prison.
Common questions asked by Criminal Psychologists:
One of the main questions- ‘Which patient becomes an offender?’ or ‘Which offender becomes a patient?’.
Another vital question – ‘What came first, the crime or the mental disorder?’.
Other questions include:
- Is a mental disorder present now? Was it present during the time of the crime?
- What is the level of responsibility of the offender for the crime?
- What is the risk of reoffending and which risk factors are involved?
- Is treatment possible to reduce the risk of reoffending?
The 4 main roles of a Criminal Psychologist
Clinical: The role of the psychologist is involvement in the assessment of an individual to provide a clinical verdict. The psychologist will use assessment tools, interview or psychometric tool in order to assist in their assessment. These kind of assessments can help police or other competitive structures determine how to proceed with the individual in question. Assessment can help establish whether the criminal is capable t
o stand trial or whether the individual has mental illness which means, they are unable to understand the proceedings.
Experimental: In this case the task of psychologist is to perform research in order to inform a case. This can involve performing experimental tests for the purpose of illustrating a point or providing further information to courts. This may involve false memory and eyewitness credibility experiment.
Actuarial: This role involves use of statistics in order to inform a case. For example, a psychologist may be asked to provide probability of an event occurring. Therefore, the courts may ask how likely a person will reoffend if a sentence is declined.
Advisory: Here a psychologist may advice police about how to proceed with the investigation. For example, which is the best way to interview the individual, how best cross-examine a vulnerable or another expert witness, how an offender will act after committing the offence.
Criminal profiling is a major part of criminal psychology, which began in the 1940s when the United States Office of Strategic Services asked Walter C. Langer, a well renowned psychiatrist, to draw up a profile of Adolf Hitler. After the Second World War, British psychologist Lionel Haward, drew up a list of characteristics which high-ranking war criminals may display, to make it easier to spot them amongst captured soldiers and airmen.
We will do this by, first, assessing the bio psychosocial and developmental reasoning behind crime and the category of the crime committed. This in turn can help us understand the use of psychology in crime investigation; cultivating in a final discussion on the important bearing of psychology in the justice system.
In this course cover an array of interesting topics; ranging from theories of crimes to the nature of actual crime committed. We look at different profiling techniques in addition to other tools used when investigating a criminal offence.
(This course has been accredited under NCFE IIQ Licence by NCC Resources Limited which has been approved as an NCFE Investing in Quality (IIQ) centre to give formal recognition to courses)