skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 69812 Find in a Library
Title: Role of Psychology in the Criminal Justice System - Report of the Task Force
Journal: American Psychologist  Dated:(December 1978)  Pages:1099-1113
Author(s): J Monahan; S Feshbach; W Holder; R A Howe; N Kittrie; J Loevinger; L McDonough
Corporate Author: American Psychological Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: American Psychological Assoc
Washington, DC 20002-4242
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: 0SS76-15832
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Ethical dilemmas faced by psychologists working with police, courts, correctional, and juvenile justice agencies are examined; recommendations are made for these dilemmas.
Abstract: The American Psychological Association's (APA's) Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP) commissioned a task force to examine the ethical dilemmas faced by psychologists working with the criminal justice system. Ten recommendations were made. Psychologists in a criminal justice setting should inform all parties to a given service of the level of confidentiality that applies and should specify any circumstances that would constitute an exception to confidentiality. The ideal level of confidentiality of therapeutic service should be the same as exists in voluntary noninstitutional settings. Psychological assessments of offenders should be permitted only when the psychologist has a reasonable expectation that such assessments will serve a useful therapeutic or dispositional function. Psychologists have an ethical obligation to educate themselves in the concepts and operations of the system in which they work. They should not offer conclusions on matters of law, should be clear about what they are trying to accomplish in the criminal justice system, and should encourage and cooperate in the evaluation of their services to the system. Psychological research should conform to the ethical standards proposed by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects. Caution should be exercised in offering predictions of criminal behavior for use in imprisoning or releasing individual offenders. Treatment services should be offered to offenders who request them. The task force also recommended that the APA encourage graduate and continuing education in applied ethics of psychological intervention and research, and take steps to increase awareness among psychologists of complaints of violations of the ethical standards promulgated. Reference notes and approximately 50 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Criminality prediction; Dangerousness; Medicolegal considerations; Professional conduct and ethics; Psychological evaluation; Psychology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.