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About this book

Why do people commit crime? How effective and reliable is the investigative process? How do jurors decide whether a person is guilty or innocent? How effective is treatment in reducing the risk of reoffending?

In this up-to-date edition of his highly informative textbook, Adrian Scott reveals just how much forensic psychology can tell us - not only about offenders and their crimes, but also about the different stages of the criminal justice system.

Covering social, psychological, biological and cognitive theories of crime, as well as research and theory relating to the investigative process, the courtroom and the penal system, this book provides in-depth coverage of the major areas within forensic psychology. It is essential reading for curious students seeking an engaging and accessible introduction to this fascinating topic.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Although the term ‘forensic psychology’ literally means the application of psychology to law, the term is increasingly used to encompass the broad application of psychological theory and methods to criminological and legal issues (i.e., the understanding of criminal behaviour and the processes of law) (Davies, Beech and Hollin, 2018; Howitt, 2015). ‘The criminological aspect focuses on crime and criminals’, and ‘the legal aspect deals with evidence, witnesses and the courts’ (Davies et al., 2018, p. 3). This book adopts a broad definition of forensic psychology and provides a concise introduction to this growing area of psychological research and practice.
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 2. Defining and measuring crime

Abstract
There is little agreement regarding the definition of crime, and different measures (e.g., official statistics, victim surveys and offender surveys) often produce contrasting crime rate estimates (Israel, 2006). It is not appropriate to describe some measures of crime as wrong, however, as different measures draw upon different sources of information (e.g., court and police data, victim and offender data) and therefore represent alternative understandings of crime (Howitt, 2015).
Adrian J. Scott

Theories of Crime

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. Social and psychological theories

Abstract
Social theories of crime (i.e., criminological theories) propose that involvement in criminal behaviour is caused by external factors (e.g., the environment). Psychological theories, by comparison, propose that involvement in criminal behaviour is caused by an interaction between internal and external factors (e.g., between the individual and the environment) (Curran and Renzetti, 2001). Although social and psychological theories of crime developed in relative isolation, certain social theories have been extended to incorporate psychological processes (e.g., attention, learning and memory).
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 4. Biological and cognitive theories

Abstract
Biological theories of crime propose that involvement in criminal behaviour is caused by variations in functioning as a consequence of heredity, maturation and certain environmental events (e.g., brain injuries) (Smallbone, 2009). Related sociobiological theories (i.e., evolutionary explanations) assert that criminal behaviour is a consequence of natural selection. Finally, cognitive theories propose that criminal behaviour is caused by certain thinking patterns, decision-making processes and cognitive deficits (Raine, 1993; Smallbone, 2009).
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 5. Theory integration and application

Abstract
Traditional theories have been unable to provide comprehensive understandings of criminal behaviour, so researchers have combined elements of several theories to form new integrated theories of crime (Bernard and Snipes, 1996; McGuire, 2004). Other researchers seeking to better understand criminal behaviour have sought to identify risk factors and developmental processes associated with crime. Chapters 3 and 4 provided an overview of social, psychological, biological and cognitive theories of crime. This chapter first examines the development of theory integration as well as some of the main risk factors and developmental processes associated with the onset, continuance and cessation of crime.
Adrian J. Scott

Psychology and the Investigative Process

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Forensic science and offender profiling

Abstract
Most people have limited knowledge of forensic science and offender profiling, and the knowledge they do have is often distorted by inaccurate depictions in the media (e.g., books, television and film) (Jackson and Jackson, 2017; Muller, 2000). In most instances, forensic science and offender profiling serve as investigative tools that can be used in conjunction with standard police procedures to direct an investigation and identify possible suspects (Jackson and Jackson, 2017; Kocsis and Palermo, 2007). This chapter focuses on the contribution of forensic science and offender profiling to the investigative process. It first considers the collection and processing of physical evidence, and examines issues relating to bias and strategies to reduce bias.
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 7. Eyewitness testimony

Abstract
There has been considerable debate regarding the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, and misidentifications represent the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions suggested by DNA testing (The Innocence Project, 2017b). The unreliability of eyewitness testimony is particularly concerning because misidentifications represent a double failure of the criminal justice system: an innocent person is convicted, and a guilty person is free to commit further crime. The cognitive interview and good practice guidelines for the improvement of lineup procedures were therefore introduced to improve the accuracy of descriptive and identification evidence (Kapardis, 2014; Wells et al., 1998). This chapter focuses on the contribution of eyewitness testimony to the investigative process. It first considers the unreliability of eyewitness testimony with reference to attributional biases, estimator and system variables, and emotion. Issues relating to descriptive evidence are then examined, including post-event information, improving its accuracy, and child witnesses.
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 8. Investigative interviewing

Abstract
Interviewing procedures in the UK and many countries around the world have changed dramatically in response to several highly publicized miscarriages of justice that were primarily caused by the use of manipulative and suggestive interviewing methods (Shawyer, Milne and Bull, 2009). An ethical framework for police interviewing and the principles of investigative interviewing were introduced during the 1990s to help change the police culture from seeking a confession to searching for the truth (Bull and Milne, 2004). This chapter focuses on the contribution of investigative interviewing to the investigative process. It first considers the importance of confession evidence and examines several factors that contribute to the occurrence of false confessions.
Adrian J. Scott

Psychology and the Courtroom

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. Jury decision-making

Abstract
Trial by jury has been a central component of the legal system in many countries for many years. It is assumed that jurors are able to provide their undivided attention for the duration of the trial, to disregard any information not formally admitted into evidence, and to carefully evaluate all information in order to reach an unbiased verdict decision (Devine, Clayton, Dunford, Seying and Pryce, 2001; Memon, Vrij and Bull, 2003). This chapter first examines the four main methods of jury research. Models of jury decision-making are then discussed with specific reference to the story model, predecisional distortion and source monitoring errors.
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 10. Jury bias

Abstract
Jurors are expected to reach an unbiased verdict decision that is based solely on information formally admitted into evidence (Fein, McCloskey and Tomlinson, 1997). However, jurors are often exposed to biased non-evidentiary information, and the procedural safeguards available to reduce these biases are relatively ineffective (Kassin and Sommers, 1997). There is a genuine danger, therefore, that information not formally admitted into evidence will bias jurors’ verdict decisions. Chapter 9 discussed methods of jury research, models of jury decision-making, and majority and minority influence. This chapter first examines procedural and case factors that may bias jury decision-making. Participant factors that may bias jury decision-making are then discussed.
Adrian J. Scott

Psychology and the Penal System

Frontmatter

Chapter 11. Punishing offenders

Abstract
Punishment represents an expression of moral disapproval in response to breaking the law in almost all countries (Bonta and Andrews, 2016; Easton and Piper, 2012). In the UK, punishments are imposed by the judicial system in accordance with the law and are managed by various enforcement agencies including Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). HMPPS is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice and works to manage offenders, protect the public and reduce reoffending (HM Prison and Probation Service, 2017a). This chapter first examines the six aims of sentencing and the introduction of restorative justice as an alternative approach to punishment. Prison and probation, including the introduction of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and HMPPS, is then discussed.
Adrian J. Scott

Chapter 12. Treating offenders

Abstract
Treatment has been an area of much debate within criminal justice settings, with the rehabilitative ideal being replaced by a belief that nothing works during the 1970s and the principles of what works during the 1990s (Cavadino, Dignan and Mair, 2013). Overall, there is evidence to suggest that treatment programmes focusing on criminogenic needs and using cognitive-behavioural styles of delivery can lead to small reductions in reoffending (Sapouna, Bisset, Conlong and Matthews, 2015). Chapter 11 discussed the aims of sentencing, restorative justice, prison and probation, alternative punishments, and the effect of prison life on prison officer and prisoner wellbeing.
Adrian J. Scott
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