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Using Forensic Psychology in Assessing a Criminal Offender

Part of the Forensic Psychology For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Forensic Psychologists often assess offenders to determine whether they’re fit to plead their case in court, or are likely to be violent in the future. There are a number of important issues to be considered in this assessment and these are outlined here:

  • Family background

    • Any history of abuse?

    • Offender ever removed from family?

    • Any criminal close relatives?

  • Criminal background

    • Amount and variety of criminal convictions?

    • Types of victims? (Particularly their age and gender)

  • Education

    • Achievements at school? (Or lack of them)

    • Age left school?

    • Literacy skill level?

    • Numeracy skill level?

  • Attitudes

    • Opinions about crime and criminality?

    • Justifications of his or her offences?

    • Any processes of denial or minimisation?

  • Psychological characteristics

    • General intelligence level?

    • Any indications of mental illness?

    • Any indication of personality disorder?

  • Domestic circumstances

    • History of intimate relationships?

    • Current intimate relationships?

    • Any children?

    • Occupational history?

    • Residential circumstances?

    • Economic circumstances?

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