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The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology

Jennifer M. Brown and Elizabeth A. Campbell , eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press. xxiii + 900 pp., ISBN 978-0521-70181-5 (pbk)ForensicPsychology

Forensic psychology dates back to the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. Americans may recall William Healy’s groundbreaking efforts in 1915 to start a clinic in Chicago that would diagnose “problem children.” In 1931, Howard Burtt produced the first legal psychology textbook. Three decades later, Hans Toch’s first book, an edited collection, delved into the psychology of crime. Overviews of the legal psychology literature were written by June Tapp in 1976 and, six years later in 1982, by John Monahan and Colin Loftin. Central to these endeavors was the interconnection between criminal justice and mental health, although criminal justice and mental health were far from the only focus for early and subsequent forensic researchers, who often gave their attention to such matters as jury selection and decisionmaking, expert and eyewitness testimony, and various forms of legal processing. By the 2000s, partially because of the growth of criminal justice, but also because of the expansion of psychology as a discipline and as a form of professional practice, the use of forensic psychology within criminal justice and mental health systems began to reach new heights of inquiry and instruction. Since 2000, at least 40 forensic psychology texts have appeared in print.

In this voluminous compendium of 111 short articles, forensic and clinical psychologists Jennifer Brown of the London School of Economics and Elizabeth Campbell of the University of Glasgow divide these short articles into eight sections, covering psychological underpinnings, assessments, interventions, psychology and criminal behavior, psychology and civil law, professional practice, research practice, and special topics, such as arson, bullying, gun shootings, hostage taking, occupational culture, sexual harassment, undercover policing, hypnosis, and victimology. In one section, separate chapters focus in on criminal behaviors such as residential burglary, domestic violence, hate crime, Internet sexual offending, murder and robbery, sexual assault, sex offending, stalking, terrorism, and criminal careers. In another section on intervention assessments, individual chapters examine child victims of sexual abuse, crime pattern analysis, credibility, eyewitness testimony, false memory, intellectual disabilities and offending, interrogative suggestibility and false confessions, investigative interviewing, mental health and mentally disordered offenders, offender profiling, parenting capacity and conduct, parole decisionmaking, personal disorder classification in forensic settings, post-traumatic stress disorder, statement validity analysis, suicide risk in adolescents and adults, and vulnerable adults’ capacity.

The richly detailed articles in this volume are written by leading researchers from Australia, Canada, England, Israel, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States. Each entry, usually between five and 10 pages, outlines the topic, describes contemporary thought on the subject, identifies various agreed upon or disputed perspectives, and offers alternative options. Broadmoor Hospital psychologist Derek Perkins’ article on mentally disordered offenders, for example, describes different definitions of mental disorder and offending behavior, examines the link between mental disorder and violent and other criminal behavior, assesses schizophrenia and other affective disorders and forms of mental illness, reviews personality disorder conditions, and maps different treatment approaches. Other articles throughout the book take a similarly elucidating approach toward such subjects as developmental perspectives on offending, head injury and offending, the application of social psychological theories to forensic psychology topics, theories of change, therapeutic jurisprudence, professional training and education, criminals’ personal narratives, and the evaluation of systemic interventions.

Posted Fri, Jan 28 2011 3:02 PM by Tracey Vessels


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