Psychological testing refers to the employment of standardized procedures, devices and measurement instruments for purposes of observing and recording human behavior. In the forensic setting, these tests are used by the courts of law to make legal decisions in criminal, civil and family or domestic cases. This essay seeks to identify the federal guidelines for conducting psychological tests and how they ensure the assessment reports are accurate and unbiased and further describes some of the cases that necessitate the federal government's involvement in the using such tests in the forensic setting.
Statutory, Case Law, and APA Guidelines
Despite the use of psychological tests in forensic testing being controversial, they have proved useful in the context of legal decision-making. As such, there are three primary federal guidelines for conducting these psychological tests. They include Statutory, APA, and Case Law Guidelines.
The statutory guidelines dictate that the practice of psychological testing shall only be conducted with the sense of the definition as laid out by KRS 319.010(7) of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (Kentucky Revised Statutes, 2016). It also forbids members of other professions from training or supervising any individual in conducting psychological tests. In addition, it stipulates that such tests may only be administered to minors upon the receipt of permission in writing from the parent or legal guardian.
Guidelines put out by the American Psychological Association stipulate that forensic practitioners may only use psychological tests to collect information that is relevant to the current legal issues being investigated. It also requires that these practitioners provide attorneys with an informed understanding concerning the role that psychology plays in the case at hand after assessing the functioning of persons and presenting their report. In addition, the guidelines require forensic practitioners clearly to illuminate the consequences of such research, their findings as well as the opinions of psychological experts in the field of law.
Case Law Guidelines
These guidelines dictate that psychological testing may only be conducted and interpreted by persons who meet the formal academic and professional competencies in the field of psychology. Is also puts forward that psychological practitioners must exhibit the ability to maintain objectivity and keep abreast with the changes regarding the cases at hand. The practitioners must also produce high-quality, impartial assessments from the tests.
Cases That are Significant In Bringing About the Government's Involvement In The Employed Of Tests Meant for Forensic Setting
There are several cases that necessitated the use of psychological tests in the forensic testing. The most intriguing one dates back to 1940 when a man named George Metesky terrorized the city of New York with home-made bombs for sixteen years CITATION NPR11 \l 1033 (NPR 24 Hour Program Stream, 2011). He actually boasted of his crime to the media. It was his capture in 1957 that gave birth to psychological tests in forensics as well as the use of criminal profiling. Also, the case concerning John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress Jodie Foster, is also one of the renowned cases that led to the use of psychological tests. Foster was an actress who John Hinckley was obsessed with at the time. The case led to the initiation of assessment into the legal roles of the standards of sanity.
Effect of the Guidelines in Warranting If the Assessment Reports are Accurate and Unbiased
The federal guidelines laid out by the American Psychological Association, those of the statutes as well as the case laws have all played a huge role in improving the quality of forensic psychological services. This has been done through the development of systematic methods of practice with a well-defined boundary in conducting psychological tests. These guidelines specify the professional conducts to the legal system and further dictates that only competent practitioners in the field of forensic psychology can administer these tests. This aids to ensure that the psychological practitioners provide exact and impartial reports that are relevant to cases being investigated.
From the above analysis, it is palpable that psychological testing is of high relevance in the forensic setting in terms of making legal decisions. However, it is vital for psychological practitioners to conduct the psychological tests in a manner that positively contributes to the legal purposes of those tests. This is while consequently protecting the rights of those that they serve. This can only be done by observing the three federal guidelines, which have been identified above that describes the procedures, scope, and the reporting requirement of psychological tests. This will ensure that the psychological tests serve their due purpose in supporting the legal systems of the country.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Kentucky Revised Statutes. (2016, January). Laws and Regulations Relating to Licensure as a Psychologist, 1-59. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://psy.ky.gov/Documents/PSY%20Laws%20and%20Regulations.pdf
NPR 24 Hour Program Stream. (2011, May 13). A 16-Year Hunt For New York's 'Mad Bomber'. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from NPR Books: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/13/136287845/a-16-year-hunt-for-new-yorks-mad-bomber
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