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When one commits murder, their state of mind is evaluated. The court needs to know whether the person committed the crime knowingly, or had a mental problem when committing the crime. It is for this reason that the concept of criminal responsibility comes in. Criminal responsibility is concerned with the mental state of the suspect, or criminal, the evaluation of these mental states, and the different defenses which are associated with the evaluation (Bartol et al., 2014). Bartol et al.’s book outlines the guidelines which helps forensic psychologists determine the ability of criminals to stand trials. This essay aims at some of the roles and responsibilities of the forensic psychologist in criminal responsibility, and how the knowledge acquired in the research can be applied in the Walden University environment.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Forensic Psychologist
In a case, it is the job of the forensic psychologist to evaluate the criminal’s state of mind and address to the court and the judges the components of insanity and competency (Kassin et al., 2013). Both these components are required by the court before the criminal can stand trial. Insanity is the mental state of the suspect at the time they were committing the crime, while competency refers to the ability of the suspect to understand the allegations he is facing at the time of the trial.
It is the work of a forensic psychologist to make a decision determining whether the criminal committed the crime under the influence of insanity or not. They strive to determine whether the criminal committed the crime when unable to distinguish or appreciate what is wrong and what is right. To achieve this, the forensic psychologist will use any of the following two tests: Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales or Slobogin Mental Screening Evaluation.
It is the duty of the forensic psychologist to gather information from various reliable sources and conduct evaluation tests and interviews before issuing to the court their results and findings (Kassin et al., 2013). In most cases, the psychologist will also issue the court with their professional opinion in regards to their evaluation and findings.
The psychologist is an essential part of the court and the general proceedings of the court when it comes to the determining of cases. They make it easy for the judges and magistrates make decisions when it could have been hard without the help of these professionals. At the school’s environment, the application of the forensic psychology knowledge can be applied to cases in which the students commit crimes, and plead they were under the influence of drugs, and/or were mentally incapable of distinguishing what is right from wrong.
- Bartol, C. R et al. (2014). Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application. Sage Publications.
- Kassin, S. M et al. (2013). The forensic confirmation bias: Problems, perspectives, and solutions. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.