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Aside from professionalism, there are many reasons why accurate documentation is important when working in a court setting. For example, consider the forensic psychology report that is generated after conducting a forensic psychological evaluation. Most of the time, this report will be your only chance to explain your opinions to the court. Most cases never go to trial, and those that do, often do not use or require testimony by expert witnesses. Therefore, the forensic psychology report and other documentation of a case are extremely important to the court and the players involved in the trial. Likewise, it is crucial to know the type of report or documentation called for in different situations when working within the courts. In this Discussion, you will analyze the functions and importance of documentation generated by a forensic psychology professional in court settings.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review Chapter 18 in your course text Psychological Evaluations for the Courts, and think about the primary functions of different types of forensic psychology reports and documentation used in court settings. Also, consider the importance of each type of forensic psychology report.
- Review the article “Forensic Report Writing,” and reflect on the importance of forensic reports and documentation in court settings.
- Review the course media, “Chapter 5,” and consider the importance of proper documentation and knowledge of report content to forensic psychology professionals.
- Recall the three primary functions served by forensic psychology reports and documentation to use in this week’s Discussion. Think about the importance of each function you chose.
Required ReadingsMelton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., & Slobogin, C. (2018). Psychological evaluations for the courts: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers (4th ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.
Chapter 18, “Consultation, Report Writing, and Expert Testimony”Report WritingChapter 19, “Sample Reports”Writing and communicating for criminal justice. (2007). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Chapter 1, “Grammar: A Lesson in the Basics”Chapter 2, “Revising at the Sentence Level”Chapter 7, “The Process of Report Writing”Chapter 8, “The Well-Written Report: From Start to Finish”Ackerman, M. J. (2006). Forensic report writing. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 59–72.Michaels, M. H. (2006). Ethical considerations in writing psychological assessment reports. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 47–58. Document: Case Study Facts: Week 4 (Word document)Required MediaBabitsky, S., Mangraviti, J. J. (Producers). (2000). Cross-examination: How to be an effective and ethical expert witness: Chapter 5. Falmouth, MA: Seak, Inc.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.
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Credit: Provided by SEAK, Inc.Optional ResourcesLichtenberger, E. O. (2006). Computer utilization and clinical judgment in psychological assessment reports. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 19–32.Harvey, V. S. (2006). Variables affecting the clarity of psychological reports. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 5–1 8.Writing Centre: Write Now Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Forensic psychology: Report writing. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://