“Forensic psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. Today forensic refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where specially knowledgeable scientists play a role.”
Forensic psychology is the interaction of the practice or study of psychology and the law. Psychologists interested in this line of applied work may be found working in prisons, jails, rehabilitation centers, police departments, law firms, schools, government agencies, or in private practice, to name a few. They may work directly with attorneys, defendants, offenders, victims, pupils, families, or with patients within the state’s corrections or rehabilitation centers. Other psychologists interested in forensic psychology focus on the study of psychology and the law. They may work in colleges, universities, government agencies, or in other settings interested in researching and examining the interaction of human behavior, criminology, and the legal system.
Psychologists working in applied forensic psychology settings may provide a multitude of services, too many to fully describe here. Generally though, psychologists working in corrections may attend to the mental healthcare needs of inmates including, screening, psychological assessment, individual therapy, group therapy, anger management, crisis management, court-ordered evaluations, or daily inpatient rounds. They may also consult with prison staff, inmate attorneys, advocates, and court systems on a variety of mental health related topics or recommendations garnered as a result of psychological assessment. Psychologists working directly with attorneys may provide psychological assessment, personality assessment, assessment of mitigating factors, assessment of sexual offenders, competency evaluations, and recommendations for parental custody or visitation, to list just a few. Psychologists working in police departments often provide services for the department employees, such as counseling or crisis management.