Applying Psychology to Forensic Practice by Adrian Needs, Graham J. Towl

By Adrian Needs, Graham J. Towl

This booklet illustrates the big variety of functions of psychology to the felony and civil justice system.

  • Illustrates the big variety of functions of psychology to the felony and civil justice system.
  • Gives examples of ways forensic psychology can profit not just from scientific and criminological techniques, but additionally from the insights of occupational, cognitive, developmental and social psychology.
  • Many of the chapters introduce readers to components that have no longer acquired broad assurance elsewhere.
  • Includes new instructions in forensic practice.
  • Chapters draw out the consequences for pros operating within the field.
  • Contributors comprise either lecturers and practitioners.
  • Reflects either the scope and the opportunity of forensic psychology.

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This then enables the practitioner to identify hypotheses about the function of the behaviour in the moment, and thereby establish the degree to which a particular behaviour is a parallel process to the offence. Needs (1988) suggests simply contrasting pairs of behavioural episodes in order to make the task less cognitively challenging. If the person being assessed does not want to engage in the assessment process then the practitioner can undertake a similar exercise and use other sources of information, such as accounts of the offence previously given, to identify the states the individual moved through during the lead-up to the offence.

In schools, thinking skills are developed through the mainstream curriculum (TimesEducational Supplement, ZOOO),though Feuerstein’s ‘Instrumental Enrichment’ curriculum is also developed in some schools for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (Head & O’Neil, 1999). When we try to understand how to respond to the psychological issues of young offenders, we can see that adolescents coming to our attention are often facing developmental paths th at are normal, but hazardous 32 MARK WILSON nevertheless.

Importantly, the convicted delinquents still tended to have cruel, passive or neglectful parents who were in conflict with each other - their development had continued on a high-risk trajectory, because there had been no significant change in their family environment. The chapter on Risk Assessment by David Crighton in this volume emphasizes the importance of specifying exactly which risks are being identified. This general point is particularly pertinent when considering the validity of risk assessment for young people.

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