Forensic Psychology

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  • Forensic Psychology
    • Measuring crime
      • Official statistics
        • Consists of police crime figures, court statistics and prisons statistics.
        • They can be unreliable due to the fact that people in different areas may classify crimes differently to others, giving unrepresentative figures.
        • They don't account for unreported crimes.
        • They don't account for crimes that have been committed but nobody has been caught for.
      • British Crime Survey
        • A type of Victim survey so people report a crime whilst remaining anonymous.
        • Can expose dark figure of crime.
        • Could exaggerate crime rates by people reporting very trivial crimes.
        • People may be unaware that crime has been committed against them.
        • Victims may not report crime because of lack of confidence in the police.
      • Self report studies
        • Criminals report their own crimes anonymously.
        • Uncovers dark figure of crime
        • Responders may respond unreliably as they may be unable to remember or too embarrassed.
        • May only uncover trivial/ less serious offences.
        • Only a biased selection of interviewees- cant ask important business men for example.
    • Offender profiling
      • Typology Approach
        • Organised or disorganised?
        • Data assimilation, crime scene classification, crime reconstruction and profile generation.
        • criticised for lack of scientific evidence.
        • Alison and Barrett (2004)- approach is over-reliant on dated theories of personality.
      • Geographical Approach
        • Studies criminal spacial behaviour, development of decisions support skills that  incorporate research findings and exploring effectiveness of said support tool in police inquiries.
        • I assesses where the criminal is most likely to live, work and choose to socialise.
        • preparing a geographical profile;
          • exam case file study (autopsy reports, witness statements etc).
          • analysis of crime scene.
          • meeting with important people in inquiry.
          • Analysis of demographic data.
          • study of rapid transit, zoning and street maps.
          • Overall analysis.
        • Computer system- Criminal Geographic Targeting.
          • Spacial data.
          • Time to and from crime scene.
            • Jeopardy surface.
              • Spacial data.
              • Contains colour, height and probability codes.
              • Provides info regrading where offender might live and work.
      • Capmbell (1976) said that it wasn't a useful technique.
      • Police deem it an 'invaluble' tool in assisting arrest.
      • Police tent to just pick out the facts from the profiles that relate to the offender.
      • Serves to improve working relationship between forensic psychologists and legal personnel.
    • Theories of offending
      • Physiological explanations of offending
        • Atavistic form
          • Lombroso (1876)
          • Criminals have specific, distinguishable features.
          • Criminal were not able to evolve properly and are stuck in their 'primitive state'.
          • Narrow, sloping brow, prominent jaw, extra figures and toes, large ears, etc.
        • Somatotype theory
          • Sheldon (1949)
          • Endomorph- fat and soft, Ectomorph- thin and fragile, Mesomorph- muscular and  hard.
          • Mesomorphs are criminals- aggressive, callous and mindless of others' feelings.
      • Biological
        • If offending behaviour was purely genetic, MZ twins would show 100% concordance rates.
          • They actually show 35% concordance rates for males and 21% for females.(Christiansen, 1977).
          • DZ twins showed 13% for males and 8% for females.
          • Dalgaard and Kringlen (1976)- 26% (MZ) and 15% (DZ).
        • Adoptive studies show if nature or nurture has more of an effect on offending behaviour.
          • Adopted boys % of having a criminal record-
            • Both- 36.2%
            • Only adoptive father- 11.5%
            • Only biological father- 21.4%
            • Neither- 10.5%
        • 50% of adopted children whose mother had a criminal record had one themselves by the age of 18. (Crowe, 1972).
          • Matched control- 5% adopted children had a criminal record when their mothers didn't.
        • Scott (1982)-in low socioeconomic mothers are subjected to higher levels of stress which can cause a variety of developmental disorders.
        • Evaluation
          • Children are placed into very similar adoptive environments
          • Some children are adopted at a later age.
    • Custodial sentencing

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