Prison psychologists utilize human behavioral concepts to correct disturbed and troubled minds,whether those irregularities are due to certain biological factors or otherwise induced. Prison psychology is an attempt to rehabilitate an incarcerated individual, as well as reintegrate that individual back into the general population so that he or she becomes a healthy, functioning, productive member of society upon release. The ultimate goal of this field is the positive reintroduction of former prisoners into regular society; the immediate goal, meanwhile, is to apply psychological concepts to ensure prisoners’ safety, security, and sense of organization. Only by doing this will inmate programs meet with any measurable success.
Prison psychologists are required to analyze prisoners that are released from incarceration. They must assess whether or not the newly-released individual shows any tendencies or indications that he or she might continue to perform criminal acts. This includes inmates who have committed sex offenses, murder, attempted suicide, or performed other high-risk acts. To conduct a proper investigation, psychologists in this field must communicate not only with the inmate,but other authorities inside the correctional facility. They also need to play an advisory role to assist other prison officials and prevent any issues in the prison populace.
Prison psychologists also serve as advocates for their patients’ mental and developmental health. Professionals in the field are responsible for seeing that inmates have access to and the option of participating in educational programs, community service programs, and physical recreation.
Prison psychology degree programs educate students on how to implement plans to rehabilitate existing criminals and prevent others from indulging in criminal acts. Psychology degrees offered by different colleges and universities could prepare you for a promising future.
The first step to becoming a prison psychologist is to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree to gain a solid foundation in basic psychology and principles of how the human mind works. During the course of completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, students learn the basic concepts of psychology, cognitive development, and human behavior.
A master’s degree in psychology prepares psychologists to help reform individuals that have adopted an alternative lifestyle which leads to criminal acts. They have to help counsel individuals who have resorted to crime for whatever reason, be it peer pressure, lack of education or employment, psychological illnesses, or other reasons. Prison psychologists must learn how to implement training programs and education opportunities to provide criminals with a chance to survive outside of prison without breaking the law again. Professionals in this field must complete a minor in criminology or criminal law to be able to understand the legal issues associated with working with and around prison inmates. They must also possess a good understanding of mental illnesses, as they will often be called upon to address and treat issues of criminal insanity common in repeat offenders,as well as other inmates with serious mental disorders or criminal behaviors.
Prison psychologists work with the federal government or in the field of criminal justice. There are many crime agencies which hire prison psychologists to work as permanent employees due to their exceptional services. These psychologists evaluate inmates and decide whether they have transformed enough during imprisonment to reenter the regular population. They also have to supervise convicts after they have been released from a correctional facility to make sure their transition is complete and that they do not indulge in any criminal activity. As a result, many prison psychologists work as or closely with parole officers.
In 2012, prison psychologists earn an average annual salary of around $68,000 (indeed.com).