Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE CRI5005

 
TITLE Socio-Psychological Issues in the Criminal Justice System

 
LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 10

 
DEPARTMENT Criminology

 
DESCRIPTION This unit will explore the intersection of psychology with the criminal justice system (CJS). Specifically this unit will address the three settings forensic psychologists will find themselves in when working in the criminal justice system - the police, the courts and corrections - and how law enforcement officers, offenders, victims and criminal justice workers interact.

Drawing on ideas of Restorative Justice and the reintegration of the offender in society, the needs of the victim and the community, this unit will address the intersection of psychology with the settings of the police , the courts and corrections.

To this end it will explore how the legal system works, legal doctrines that are relevant for mental health evaluations, as well as core legal cases relevant to Forensic Psychology and their implications for practice. The unit will also focus on the role of the psychologist in criminal justice settings namely in a court setting, in a police setting and in a correctional setting.

It will also explore the particular contributions to criminal investigations that psychology can provide. These include an understanding of how people's memory and reasoning can be influenced by questioning techniques and other manipulations; and issues regarding the use of vulnerable people as witnesses.

It will also include not only working with offenders (both those in prison and those on community corrections), but also working with management and staff and working with victims. The unit will also explore the ethical issues that present when working in the criminal justice setting. Finally, fieldwork will be held at the law courts.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims at equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills needed when working in the different sectors of the criminal justice system. More specifically it aims to:

1. provide knowledge of the basic principles of the legal system, including how the legal system works, legal doctrines that are relevant for mental health evaluations, as well as core legal cases relevant to Forensic Psychology and their implications for practice, covering the breadth of forensic psychology;
2. explore the social psychological issues presenting themselves in the various CJS settings most notably: the police; the courts; and corrections.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Evaluate the basic principles of the legal system, including how the legal system works, legal doctrines that are relevant for mental health evaluations, as well as core legal cases relevant to Forensic Psychology and their implications for practice, covering the breadth of forensic psychology;
- Distinguish and evaluate good and bad practice when working in the criminal justice system;
- Compare and contrast working with victims, offenders and police officers;
- Compare and contrast intervention with offenders and staff members in intra-mural or extra-mural activities;
- Distinguish the role of a psychologist in the three sectors of the criminal justice system with that of other forensic professionals.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Design and organise working methods of intervention with the police, the courts and corrections;
- Review material on the subject and critically assess its validity;
- Appreciate the difficulties in working in the criminal justice setting;
- Engage with ethical dilemmas in the criminal justice system.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main text:
- Bartol, C. and Bartol, A. (2012) Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application (3rd ed.). CA: Sage.

Supplementary Readings:
- Skeem, J.L., Douglas, K.S. & Lilienfeld, S.O. (Eds.). (2009). Psychological science in the courtroom: Consensus and controversy. UDA: The Guilford Press.
- Kitaeff, J. (Ed.). (2009). Handbook of police psychology. USA: Routledge.
- Pollock, J. (2012). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in the criminal justice. USA: Wadsworth.
- Correia, K.M, (2009). A handbook for correctional psychologists: guidance for the prison practitioner. USA: Charles C Thomas Publisher LTD.

Journals:
The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Criminal Justice and Behaviour
Law and Human Behaviour

Books and journals will be available at the Department of Criminology.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Fieldwork

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Logbook SEM2 Yes 20%
Research Paper SEM2 Yes 30%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 50%

 
LECTURER/S Chantal Avellino
Trevor Calafato
Anthony Casha
Marilyn Clark
Janice Formosa Pace
Saviour Formosa
Angelo Gafa
Joseph Giordmaina
Kevin Henwood
Sandra Scicluna (Co-ord.)

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.

https://www.um.edu.mt/course/studyunit