Investigative Psychology

Investigative Psychology
As stated by Bartol and Bartol (2008), investigative psychology is the application of psychological research and principles to the investigation of criminal behavior (Bartol &ump; Bartol, 2008). Investigative psychology is closely associated with criminal profiling, but there are other areas in which a forensic psychologist can participate in this particular subspecialty. An investigative psychologist maybe asked to perform a psychological autopsy, forensic hypnosis, or produce a geographical mapping. Psychological autopsies are generally performed in suspected suicide cases where the insurance company or family member questions the cause of death. Forensic hypnosis is an interview or interrogation method used by trained and credentialed professionals. Lastly, geographic mapping is a method of research ?concerned with analyzing spatial patterns of crimes committed by numerous offenders over a period of time (Bartol &ump; Bartol, 2008).? Geographic profiling is the analysis of a single serial offender?s geographic movement.
Due to the complexities of investigative psychology these methods have been scrutinized. In order for these methods to be admissible in a court of law, they must pass the Daubert standard for empirically based evidence. The use of such standards has sparked an array of studies. For example criminal profiling has been under a magnifying glass for several years. Snook et al. (2007) found that there is inadequate empirical evidence that suggest whether criminal profiling is an effective method (Snook, Eastwood, Gendreau, Goggin, &ump; Cullen, 2007). However, Kocsis, Middledorp, and Karpin (2008) reported that expert profilers are more accurate at prediction of unknown offender characteristics than non profilers were (Kocsis, Middledorp, &ump; Karpin, 2008). There have been several court cases that relate to profiling. One case is State v. Parkinson, where the Idaho Appellate Court decided to exclude an FBI sex offender profile. Conversely, Alabama Criminal Court of appeals allowed an FBI profiler to testify about motivational analysis.
If a profiler uses false information in an investigation to delay the apprehension of an offender, the misuse of criminal profiling can produce an ethical predicament. An ethical dilemma such as this speaks to the character of the individual. The Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct, and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists prohibit psychologist from presenting false information as fact. They also state that psychologist should be able to provide evidence that proves their findings. Ultimately, preventive measures are in place to deter instances like this.
Profiling is not the only method which has generated research and controversy. Forensic hypnosis is another controversial method of investigative psychology that has generated several studies. Braffman and Kirsch (1999) reported that the experiences and responses during hypnosis can be produced in a normal state without the use of hypnosis. Hypnosis can generate a hypersuggestibility which creates the hypnotized state (Braffman &ump; Kirsch, 1999). Forensic hypnosis has been used in cases such as Bundy v. Florida. Forensic hypnosis is generally used on witnesses, but it has been implemented on offenders as well. Two cases in which this occurred is the Boston Strangler and Sam Sheppard (Ritzel, 2004). However, hypnosis can produce confabulation, or more commonly known as memory distortion.
Confabulation can present forensic psychologist who chose to implement hypnosis with an ethical dilemma. Jensen (2008) reported that hypnosis works by recalling the events a person believe they saw (Jensen, 2008). Orne et al. (1988) discovered that when a person is under hypnosis they present a heightened willingness to accept fantasy as reality creating a false confidence to recall false information as being true (Orne, Whitehouse, Dinges, &ump; Orne, 2008). The APA does not have any ethical principles that are explicitly related to the use of hypnosis in investigative psychology. In the Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct, it states that psychologists should refrain from engaging in a professional role where their objectivity, competence or effectiveness in performing their functions as a psychologist is impaired; or expose the person or organization with whom their professional relationship exists to harm or exploitation (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010). In order to prevent ethical issues as this, forensic psychologist should ensure that an expert in hypnosis is used and if the psychologist has a conflict of interest they should refrain from participating in forensic hypnosis.
Correctional Psychology
Correctional psychologist can be distinguished from psychologists who merely work in correctional institutions. The correctional psychologist is typically trained in areas such as correctional philosophy, systems, offender management, treatment aimed at reducing recidivism, and outcome research. Correctional psychologist work in a system where they are faced with a high volume of individuals, from coworkers to violent offenders, correctional psychology is a challenging, stressful, unique, and dangerous subspecialty of forensic psychology. Psychologist in this particular area should be prepared to consult correctional administration with mental health program design; screening of security staff employed in specialized mental health unit; classification for mental health program assignments; training of staff; assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses of inmates or pretrial detainees; crisis intervention; and advocacy for and evaluation of mental health programs and services (Bartol &ump; Bartol, 2008).
Correctional psychologists engage in the assessment of inmates throughout their experience in correctional facilities, beginning with their entry into the institution to their out processing. Research conducted by Lamb, Weinberger, and Gross (2004) has indicated that at a minimum 10 to 15 percent of incarcerated individuals have severe mental disorders (Lamb, Weinberger, &ump; Gross, 2004). In the case of Estelle v. Gamble (1976) inmates with mental disorders were granted the right to treatment. In 1990, Washington v. Harper ruled that inmates can refuse treatment, as long as the inmate is not disordered and a danger to themselves or others (Bartol &ump; Bartol, 2008). In the case of Singleton v. Norris (2003) the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an inmate on death row can be involuntarily medicated if the inmate meets the standard outlines by the case of U.S. v. Sell (2001) (Zonana, 2003). These cases had a direct impact on correctional psychology and the ability of psychologist to treat inmates who present severe mental disorders.
Treatment of inmates is an area that has created a large amount of research as well as some controversy. Treatment of inmates is not exclusive to inmates who are diagnosed with a mental illness. Some of the most common treatments offered in correctional institutions are person-centered therapy, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, group and milieu therapy, transactional analysis, reality therapy, and responsibility therapy (Bartol &ump; Bartol, 2008). The knowledge about effective treatment of offenders can be attributed to approximately 2,000 studies performed over the past half century. Controversy surrounds this research because recidivism is a ?unified concept without a unifying definition (Wormith, Althouse, Simpson, Reitzel, Fagan, &ump; Morgan, 2007). Therefore, conclusive research as to whether a specific program or type of treatment is effective is dependent upon the conductor?s definition of recidivism.
Recidivism of an offender may affect the release of an offender. In this situation, the warden may ask the correctional psychologist to assess an inmate prior to a parole hearing. The inmate maybe a repeat offender and the warden may request a psychological evaluation to determine if release of the inmate is in society?s best interest. However it is unlikely that the individual with agree to an assessment if they know the information gained can work against their release. This can evolve into an ethical issue involving confidentiality. To best prevent an issue such as this, the psychologist should follow the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologist. Specifically the guideline that states,
?Forensic psychologists inform their clients of the limitations to the confidentiality of their services and their products by providing them with an understandable statement of their rights, privileges, and the limitations of confidentiality (Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, 1991).?
Multiple relationships in a correctional institution can cause ethical dilemmas. An example of this would be if an inmate refuses to comply with a random drug screening and then attempts to commit suicide. After the suicide attempt the correctional psychologist examines the inmate and discovers a history of suicide attempts. He recommends that the inmate participate in group therapy and be granted a pass on future drug screening. Other members of the prison staff believe the inmate attempted suicide to escape the urinalysis. In this case the psychologist is faced with the dilemma of what is in the best interest of the patient and what is the best interest of the correctional institution.

Investigative Psychology 8.8 of 10 on the basis of 746 Review.