Social Work in the Justice System Essay

2769 Words Mar 17th, 2011 12 Pages
Running head: SOCIAL WORK IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM 1

The Field of Forensic Social Work It’s Function in the Criminal Justice System and the Populations Who Benefit
Jennifer A. Dimaira
Seton Hall University

Abstract
This paper explores the many facets social work provides in collaboration with the criminal justice system escaping widespread notice as well as the roles played in the judicial court systems. This paper takes a look at the point and the many purposes of forensic social work. Covering their role in multidisciplinary mitigation teams and collaboration between social workers and lawyers in criminal defense also the type service social work practitioners provide to inmate populations; the active
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It’s an issue I see as becoming a problem in the near future because of the field’s functions. The educational opportunity presented in teaching forensic social work is valuable. The functions alone include policy and program development. Mediation, advocacy and arbitration, teaching, training and supervision as well as behavioral science research and analysis just to name a few. We the students are at a loss by a lack of acknowledgement of Forensic Social work and it not being an offered course in our curriculum. Brownell and Roberts (2002) operationally define forensic social work as ‘policies, practices and social work roles with juvenile and adult offenders and victims of crimes’ (Brownell P & Roberts AR 2002, A century of social work in criminal justice and correctional settings, Journal of Offender rehabilitation, 35 (2) 1-17, pg. 3)
As times progressed a growing knowledge and understanding of mental illness and psychiatric problems became more of a deciding factor in the task of determining just and effective dispositions. The criminal justice system is not equipped to provide the proper type of facilitation needed to accommodate. Instead judges and lawyers reached out to community mental health agencies but they too were unable to adequately provide resources needed. According to Gary Whitmer (1983) resulting from this dilemma the courts adjudicate with a sense of futility, knowing that it is not the
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