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Please ~ sit nearer the front…. . … and turn off your mobile Thanks. Careers In Forensic Psychology Fern Hodges, CPsychol (foren) Head of Psychology, HMP&YOI Onley Practioner-Lecturer, Coventry University. Careers in Forensic Psychology: Overview. - Employers + types of work

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Please ~sit nearer the front….

… and turn off your mobile




Forensic Psychology

Fern Hodges, CPsychol (foren)

Head of Psychology, HMP&YOI Onley

Practioner-Lecturer, Coventry University

Careers in Forensic Psychology: Overview

- Employers + types of work

- More detail on prison psychology

- Where to look for jobs

- Steps to registration as a chartered psychologist

- Turning experience into applications

- Questions (but also ask all through)

Where did your interest start?

Want a job like Cracker’s?

~ National Health Service

~ Private Forensic Residential Firms

~ Police

~ Universities

~ Ministry of Justice (NOMS)

~ HM Prison Service

~ Private Custodial Firms

~ Probation

~ Youth Offending Teams

~ Private Practice

Careers in Forensic Psychology: Employers

National Health Service +

  • Clinical work (including risk assessment)

  • Lateral transfer possible for forensic

  • Assistant psychologist post

    (PCTs, “specials”, DSPD = growth area)

    > clinical training course

    (Leeds clearing house)

  • Huge competition to get on courses

  • + Private firms

Police – Non-Crime

  • Training

    (Some done by occupational psychologists)

  • Research

    (University of Surrey has strong links)

PoliceBehavioural Investigative Analysis

  • Accredited – very few!

  • Individuals from

    - Police officers

    - Clinical psychologists

    - Forensic psychiatrist (doctor)

    - Academic

  • National Policing Improvement Agency – Serious Crime Analysis Section

  • Liverpool University MSc course

Research in other forensic areas

  • Universities

  • PhD

  • Ministry of Justice (NOMS)

    Research, Development and Statistics

    (formerly part of Home Office) (all types)

Offenders outside prisons(Other Custody/Community)


~Youth Offending Teams

(Run by county councils)

~Secure Training Centres

(Four - all privately run)

HM Prison Service Psychology

  • Delivery of agreed organisational objectives

  • Understanding of individuals and the organisation

  • Design of strategies for change

  • Evaluation of effectiveness

Prison and Probation

  • Individual prisoners

  • Assessment – including Risk Assessment

  • Treatment

  • Life-sentenced prisoners

  • Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder

  • (DSPD) – also NHS Special Hospitals

  • Counselling (but rare)

Prison and Probation

Group work with offenders

  • Accredited programmes

    Tutor, treatment manager

  • Other group work programmes

    (Planning, delivery, evaluation, approval

    under Prison Service Order 4350)

Staff Training

  • Stress management

  • HIV/AIDS awareness

  • Suicide awareness

  • Report writing

  • Work with life sentenced prisoners

  • Incident negotiation

  • Offence parallelling behaviour

Management work

  • Regime evaluation

  • Monitoring schemes

  • Key performance indicators

  • Consultancy – varied topics

    (examples next slide)

Research/consultancy - some examples

-Bullying (prevalence +)

-Drug use

-Evaluation of interventions

-Staff views of association style

-Travelling community

Looking for Jobs

  • Local newspaper

  • Job centres

  • BPS Appointments Memorandum

  • Professional house magazines

  • HMPS & DH vacancy alerts

    (sign up on website)

  • Internet – other (eg private prisons/health)

  • National newspapers

    (eg “The Guardian”, particularly on Wednesdays)

Looking for experience

  • Difficult for prison staff to take you on

  • Try other employers

  • Offer substantial time over long period

    (Not shadowing, not just a visit,

    not just one day per week)

  • Often administrative tasks

    (Including SPSS data entry)

  • Placement year?

Registration as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist

Step 1 GBR

(You needed this to get onto this MSc course)

Step 2 BPS Diploma in Forensic Psychology Stage 1

-either DFP exams + publishable research (now one piece)

with oral exam on the methods

-or accredited MSc (19)

Step 3 BPS Diploma in Forensic Psychology Stage 2

-Two years’ supervised practice >

Step 2 Accredited MSc

  • BPS web site lists these in different applied specialisms

  • Eg locally

    Coventry University (2)

    University of Birmingham (3)

    University of Leicester (2)

Registration as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist

Step 3 Supervised Practice

Show competence in four core roles:

~ 1 Conducting psychological applications and interventions

~ 2 Research

~ 3 Communicating psychological knowledge and advice to other professionals

~ 4 Training other professionals in psychological skills and knowledge

… long haul

Demonstrating competenceusing your experience

  • All jobs in HMPS/Probation Psychology

    ~ Job specification listing competences required

    ~ Use experience from work, university, family/social life

HMPS Job Competences 1 of 3

Three groups, each with four competences

  • Working professionally

  • Working with others

  • Working to achieve results

HMPS Competences 2 of 3

Achieving a safe and secure environment

Persuading and influencing


Organising and maximising performance

Embracing change

Developing self and others

HMPS Job Competences 3 of 3

Showing drive and resilience

Acting with integrity

Respecting others

Building relationships and team working

Problem solving and decision making

Communicating effectively

You don’t have to be “a psychologist” to apply psychology

You don’t have to be a forensic psychologist to do valuable work with offenders

You could be …

a volunteer mentor, a youth worker, a Social Services community support worker, a social worker, a volunteer Youth Offending Panel member, a YOT worker, on a prison’s Independent Monitoring Board, a drugs worker, a community psychiatric nurse or mental health nurse, educational support worker, a worker with an offenders’ charitable organisation such as Apex Trust, NACRO or SOVA, a prison officer, a prison governor, a police officer , etc

Big “but….”

  • Examine your motives ….

  • People don’t stop offending because a well meaning person wants to help them….

Useful web addresses – BPS and government






Useful web addresses(Operators of private prisons or secure training centres)





Useful web addresses(Operators of other forensic units + recruitment specialists covering forensic work)









Useful web addresses- other

some psychology jobs

not-for-profit jobs

HMPS senior prison manager programme, closed Sept in 2008 but keep a look out for next year (for those with some management experience)

jobs in youth and criminal justice

organises volunteer mentors to work with ex-offenders

for mental health jobs – keep looking and explore unpromising job titles

Useful web addresses – even more

Site with voluntary work opportunities

– some will have forensic relevance

Booklet about ways of getting involved

in the criminal justice system

prepared by “Rethinking Crime and Punishment” (RCP),

a charitably-funded grant-making organisation

which seeks to raise the standard of public debate

about the use of imprisonment and other punishments.

Thank you for your attention… any questions?

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