Forensic Psychologists apply psychology to criminal justice. Although similar in some aspects, forensic psychology is different than forensic science. One major difference is that forensic psychologists look deep into the immense psychological perspectives associated with the crime and apply them to the case so that justice might be served. They frequently deal with legal issues such as news law, and public policies, and are asked to determine the mental state and competency of the defendant at the time of the crime, and throughout the legal proceedings. Each of these issues blends law topics and psychology together, and is essential to the field of Forensic Psychology. Forensic Psychologists also use their knowledge of psychology to analyze a criminal’s mind and intent, treat mentally ill offenders, practice within the civil arena, and consult with attorneys.
Very few academic institutions offer degrees specifically focused on Forensic Psychology. Therefore, individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in Forensic Psychology should take an academic course load centered on criminal justice and psychology classes. Other classes that help prepare students for the field of Forensic Psychology include: cognitive, clinical, criminal investigative, social, and developmental psychology.
Some forensic psychologists choose to focus their careers exclusively on research, which ranges anywhere from learning how to improve interrogation methods to the detailed assessment of eyewitness testimony. Public policy is another area of interest for forensic psychologists. In this line work forensic psychologists act as researchers helping to design prisons and other correctional facilities. Most often Forensic Psychology includes areas between the conventional options of criminal justice (i.e, law enforcement, academic training, and corrections).