Psychologists’ Roles Within the Legal System

1512 words 7 pages
Psychologists’ Roles within the Legal System
There are many roles a forensic psychologist can choose to take part in, within the legal system, such as; the basic scientists, the applied scientists, policy evaluator, forensic evaluator, and consultant. Each of these roles has different duties/ responsibilities and may assist in or concentrate in different areas/ environments within the legal system. As a psychologist, within the legal system you will examine many individuals from the police officer to the victim. Being a psychologist within the legal system has many ethical obligations or issues that can arise. With this in mind, I will discuss more in detail the roles a psychologist plays in each environment within the legal
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Policy Evaluator
The role of the policy evaluator in law enforcement is important to many agencies. “The policy evaluator assesses and evaluates how well an intervention has worked. For example, police departments may change from automobile patrols to foot patrols to increase surveillance and to improve relations between police and community” the policy evaluator can determine if this change has made a difference whether good or bad (Greene, & Hailbrun, 2010 p21). The policy evaluator can help in determining if an agency needs to hire more employees or if a new program needs to be put in place.
The policy evaluator may be asked to examine programs to determine if changes need to take place in corrections, such as rehabilitation and parole programs. In the court system the psychologist can help the judge determine how effective certain procedures are. Within the academia environment, the psychologist can be an instructor to help students learn about psychology within the law. One issue facing psychologists as a policy evaluator is “questions of accuracy” (Greene, & Hailbrun, 2010 p22). If the psychologist is hired by an agency to evaluate a program and determines that the program does not do what it was designed to do, he/she may want to alter the result for the agency; in order to keep the position. The psychologist can avoid this by not taking sides.
Forensic Evaluator
The forensic evaluator has many different


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