Importance of Forensic Psychology in Legal Proceedings

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What and why is Forensic Psychology Important in Legal Proceedings?
Beth Velez
Southern New Hampshire University
Justice 101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Forensic psychology is an important part of the legal system, dating back to 1921. I plan to show in my paper just how forensic psychologists conduct their assessments, the implications on what the assessment and testing shows, and how it can benefit not only the defendant, but society as well. Forensic psychologist can show if a person is faking their mental illness or truly needs further intensive inpatient care versus jail. Forensic psychology can aid the judge, the prosecutor, the defendant, and the jury to ensure the defendant receives the proper sentence if convicted of a
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In 1940, forensic psychology took another big step forward, when the courts deemed an expert witness should be based on the expert’s knowledge versus the type of degree they possessed ("Forensic Psychologist - Psychology Jobs in Forensic Psychology, by AlleyDog.com," n.d.). Between 1940 and 1960, forensic psychology remained stagnant and did not become completely recognized for matters concerning mental illness in the courts until Jenkins vs. United States in 1962 (Dye, n.d.). It was not until 1991, that specific guidelines for forensic psychology were developed and published by the Committee on Special Guidelines for forensic psychology (American Psychological Association, 2012). In 2001, forensic psychology became and medically accepted as a sub-discipline with psychology by the American Psychology Association ("Forensic Psychologist - Psychology Jobs in Forensic Psychology, by AlleyDog.com," n.d.).
A forensic psychologist could work for the courts, police, prosecutors, defendants, prisons, or in civil matters like child custody hearings. Forensic psychology is a recognized specialty that requires education not only in psychology, but legal knowledge (like courtroom procedures, case law, and mental health law). The current model of education for a forensic psychologist is earning a doctoral degree in psychology and a post-doctoral degree in either law or forensics (Franklin, 2014).
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