A career in legal psychology gives one the capability to empirically and psychologically assess those who are involved with the law as well as legal institutions. This field of study allows one to apply the principles of cognition and social behavior to assist in the legal process. Such processes include interviews, investigations, witness memory recall and jury selection.
Legal psychologists perform consulting duties in collaboration with various law enforcement officials in awide range of fields. With their knowledge of human behavior they are able to assess and analyze various individuals who are related to a legal procedure of concern. They can study a crime scene and try to recreate the conditions in which the crime took place. Such professionals examine the behavior of various individuals involved in law enforcement procedures.
Criminal psychologistsare required to use information and data they discover in order to create a personality profile of the subject they study. They are also required to deduce the reasons for an act, predict any behavioral tendencies and create a profile of related individuals.
Types of Degrees
Criminal psychology degrees at the doctorate level are earned after learning the fundamental principles of psychology at the bachelor’s level followed by the completion of a master’s in psychology with a criminology specialization, or a master’s in criminal anthropology.
Legal psychologists must learn to evaluate criminals and other individuals related to a particular crime. One must have coherent knowledge and ability in aspects concerning law enforcement and criminal justice. Students are trained in the relative legal procedures and carry out research that allows them to prove their findings. This usually occurs during supervised field training programs that every student must complete. Students must also complete a dissertation in a subject area related to criminal psychology. Subjects studied in criminal psychology programs may include:
– Intelligence and Cognitive Testing
– Mental Health and Public Policy
– Biological Impacts on Behavior
In the specialization of judicial procedures, criminal psychologists normally function as jury consultants. Their aim is to help select the best possible jury to achieve a fair verdict and analize the mental condition of jurors during the trial.
As part of the public administration process they can also work as public policy analysts who help to create and develop policy procedures which allow for the prevention of various social ills. This education may also allow them to perform as parole officers who can review a certain prisoner to see whether they can return to the real world, and supervise their re-introduction into the main population.
Those employed in state and federal government positions earned annually over $80,000. This is also a close match to the overall earnings of psychologist across the US. (www.bls.gov:2010).