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Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology

While criminal psychology and forensic psychology are very similar, forensic psychology is a subdivision within the field of criminal psychology. Specialists in forensic psychology deal with legal issues at the intersection of criminal psychology and the legal system, including courts, corrections facilities, and probation departments. Forensic psychologists are often asked to determine the mental state of the suspect at the time of the crime and testify to that status in court. Along with consulting about policies and laws, forensic psychologists look into the psychological perspective of a crime and apply those findings to the case so that justice can be served.

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It is crucial for the forensic psychologist to be able to merge the principles of law and psychology in order to testify accurately, yet in a way that can be understood by the average juror so that the correct findings are applied to the jury deliberations.

An alternative career path for the forensic psychologist is in specialized research. Forensic psychologists that focus solely on research may help strengthen public policy and improve interrogation methods, as well as helping improve the reliability of eyewitness accounts. In the field of public policy, the work of forensic psychologists strengthens prisons and correctional facilities by improving their design and the layout of cells. As do students of criminal psychology, forensic psychologists require more than a bachelor's degree to practice in the profession. A doctorate in psychology is the minimum requirement along with specialized study in criminal justice or criminal psychology. Currently, work as a consultant, in clinical environments, and in assistance to trial attorneys are all generating high job demand and solid employment possibilities for forensic psychologists. When opportunities to teach at the university level are also considered, a job for the new forensic psychologist may not be hard to find.