June 2nd, 2010
Criminal justice careers and careers in psychology have become closely related over the past few years, unfortunately, as crimes grow more grotesque by the year. Many criminologists are troubled by the rise in the number of crimes that are psychologically related, sometimes leading to a new reliance on the insanity plea at criminal hearings. This has begun to affect careers in psychology, as psychologists have become a more important part of the criminal justice system and are necessary in determining a defendant’s guilt or innocence (by reason of insanity).
Psychology is a field that has never been meant for the weak-hearted. There are a great many psychological ailments that only truly dedicated students of psychology can bear to tackle. Hearing so much information from clients regarding depression, horrible stories of abuse, and unexplainable psychological illnesses like schizophrenia is enough to drive anybody crazy. It is thus apparent to many psychologists why some criminals act in the ways that they do. For most average citizens, however, a mother who drowns her children because “demons told her to” appears to be more of a contrived lie than an actual psychological ailment. Enter advancements in criminal justice and psychology.
Criminals now have the option of pleading insanity, although it remains extremely difficult to prove, and many times can earn the defendant more years in a mental institute than they would have received in prison. Therefore, most attorneys advise their clients not to plead insanity, but to simply state their guilt. However, psychologists are continuously brought into court rooms to testify as to whether a specific defendant may have a psychological problem. Understanding a problem in such a short period of time is virtually impossible, making it almost an undesirable occupation for some psychologists to be faced with. Many psychology careers never cross paths with criminals, which appears to be the best course of action for most psychologists.
Some psychologists base their career on dealing with the criminal justice system and work for courts to help prove the innocence of people with damaged psychoses’. This is a far road away from the career of a typical psychologist, who we most often associate with a long red couch and glasses, the room set for the patient to lie down and reveal their inhibitions. Psychology has come a long way from this one stereotypical image we hold in our minds, but psychologists remain an important part of their own industry as well as criminal justice. Combining the two has helped many criminals receive the help they need and has helped free many innocent people at the same time.