Ethical and Professional Conflicts in Correctional Psychology Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Correctional Psychology

Duties of a Correctional Psychologist

An increasing rate of violation of crimes characterizes the current global environment. Different forms of violence and aggression, including drug trafficking and abuse, robbery, and rape cases among other forms of violence necessitates the need for analyzing the roles of a correctional psychologist. The special roles played by the correctional psychologists such as providing environments that improve the safety of the staff and inmates, psychological services, inmate management, and conducting an evaluation of the inmate/prison population and its influence on inmates' health necessitated the study into the topic. In addition, the fact that the correctional psychology has numerous ethical dilemmas and conflicts makes it wanting to study the topic.

The working environment, professional and personal experiences made me interested in studying the duties and challenges facing correctional psychologist. The fact that correctional psychologists work in a simulative and challenging environment attracts my interests into the topic. Job duties such as preparing case files and reports, performing psychological tests to the incoming inmates, provision of therapy groups to the violent inmates, and managing inmates with different behaviors such as suicidal attempts make it interesting to study the topic. The educational requirements for one to practice as a correctional psychologist also make it more than psychology itself. For example, one has to acquire a master's degree in correctional psychology to practice as a correctional psychologist. It is highly recognizable that biases that surround correctional psychology often affect the ability of an individual to make sound decisions related to the status of the inmates. Such biases include behavioral, social, memory error biases, and stereotypes. Overcoming these, biases entail understanding their existence, exploring their dynamics, developing and implementing strategies, and evaluating their effectiveness.

Part 2: Annotated bibliography

The following research materials were obtained by conducting a literature search in research websites including Google Scholar, JSTOR, Google Books, and EBSCO. The keywords used for obtaining the research materials include; correctional psychologists, role, challenges, biases, opportunities, and ethical dilemmas.

Ax, R.K., & Morgan, R.D. (2002). Internship Training Opportunities in Correctional Psychology: A Comparison of Settings. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 29(3), 332-347.

The article analyzes the opportunities available for the correctional psychologists as they venture into the field of correctional psychology. It uses surveys to identify the gaps that exist in the field of correctional psychology; hence, the need for a study in this field.

Boothby, J.L., & Clements, C.B. (2000). A National Survey of Correctional Psychologists. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 27(6), 716-732.

The article provides a comprehensive profile of the correctional psychology. The article also provides analysis of the different roles of the correctional psychologists, including administration, counseling, and management of correctional facilities. It is important for the study as it provides insights on the work of correctional psychologists.

Martino, B.D. (2006). Frames, Biases, And Rational Decision-Making In The Human Brain. Science, 313(5787), 684-687.

The article provides an analysis into the different factors that contribute to biases in correctional psychology. The article is important for the study because it will illuminate the light into the factors that cause professional biases and ways of preventing its occurrence as a professional correctional psychologist.

Haag, A.M. (2006). Ethical Dilemmas Faced By Correctional Psychologists In Canada. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 33(1), 93-109

The article focuses on the different issues facing the correctional psychologists in Canada. Among the ethical issues, include the definition of a client, confidentiality, protection of clients' records, informed consent, collaboration, competence, and accuracy among other issues. The article is important as it provides an understanding of the different ethical dilemmas that influence the behavior of the correctional psychologists.

Heilbrun, K. (1992). The Role Of Psychological Testing In Forensic Assessment. Law and Human Behavior, 16(3), 257-272.

The article shows the ways in which psychological testing aids in decision-making. Psychological testing provides a criterion for relevance of the legal decisions and accuracy of the decisions that define the roles of the psychologists in correctional facilities.

Kahneman, D. (2003). Maps Of Bounded Rationality: Psychology For Behavioral Economics. American Economic Review, 93(5), 1449-1475.

The article provides insights into the factors that contribute to the ability of individuals to make rational decisions. The article uses an in depth analysis of the different literature to bring understanding of the forces that drive rationality in decision-making. The article is important because it provides information related to the causes and the possible management of biases that might affect decision-making by the correctional psychologists.

Podsakoff, P.M., MacKenzie, S.B., Lee, J., & Podsakoff, N.P. (2003). Common Method Biases In Behavioral Research: A Critical Review Of The Literature And Recommended Remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879-903.

The article analyzes contributing factors to the common biases in behavioral research that focuses on understanding human behavior. The article is important for the study because it provides an understanding of the possible sources of biases in the practice of correctional psychology and ways of controlling and preventing their occurrence.

Pope, K.S., Tabachnick, B.G., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (1987). Ethics of practice: The beliefs and behaviors of psychologists as therapists. American Psychologist, 42(11), 993-1006.

The article uses correlation analysis to provide an understanding of the ethics ways in which professional code of ethics influences the practice of correctional psychologists. The article is important for the study because it provides avenues for understanding the ways in which ethics influences the behavior, beliefs, and quality of therapy provided to clients in a correctional set up.

Rodolfa, E., Bent, R., Eisman, E., Nelson, P., Rehm, L., & Ritchie, P. (2005). A Cube Model for Competency Development: Implications for Psychology Educators and Regulators. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 347-354.

The article unveils the analysis of a conceptual framework that can be used for providing training for professional psychologists to enhance their competency. The article is important for the study because it focuses on three main domains (skills, values, and attitude) that influence decision-making in correctional psychology practice.

Sheldon, K.M., & King, L. (2001). Why positive psychology is necessary. American Psychologist, 56(3), 216-217.

While most researches have focused on the boundaries of correctional psychology practice, this article provides an understanding on the need for positive psychology to enhance the functioning of the correctional psychologists. It analyzes the nature of human behavior that influence decision-making.

Weinberger, L.E., & Sreenivasan, S. (1994). Ethical and professional conflicts in correctional psychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25(2), 161-167.

The article is important for the study as it provides an understanding into different conflicts correctional psychologists face in their daily practice. The ethical dilemmas facing professionals in this field are also identified whilst solutions are also provided.

Wormith, J.S., Althouse, R., Simpson, M., Reitzel, L.R., Fagan, T.J., & Morgan, R.D. (2007). The Rehabilitation And Reintegration Of Offenders: The Current Landscape And Some Future Directions For Correctional Psychology. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34(7), 879-892.

The article adopts a historical perspective to create an understanding of the increasing rates of rehabilitation and reintegration of the offenders. It provides strategies that can be adopted to reduce the increasing rates of violation of the law and enhancing the quality of correctional psychology services.

Part 3: Scholarly paper outline

Introduction and problem of the study

The recent past has witnessed a significant transition in the roles played by psychologists in our contemporary society. The growth of different sub-fields in psychology has resulted in confusion about the different roles played by individuals belonging to each of the sub-fields. Among the subfields is the correctional psychology. Correctional psychologists focus on understanding the behaviors of the inmates or the convicts and providing the required professional care that ensure their safety and that of the other staff members. In addition, correctional psychologists conduct different psychological examinations to the incoming and outgoing inmates to determine the suitability of their release alongside collecting information that will be used in the courts as evidenced against the suspects.

However, the increasing popularity of the correctional psychology as a field of study confuses many on the scope of professional practice of the correctional psychologists. In addition, significant evidence shows that most of the practicing correctional psychologists face significant challenges and conflicts in their daily practice. Most of them do not understand the nature, causes, and management of these conflicts; hence, the need for the study. Moreover, empirical evidence has that numerous ethical dilemmas and professional biases surround correctional psychology. Therefore, combining these challenges necessitates a study to understand the roles of psychologists stationed in correctional facilities alongside other aspects including conflicts, dilemmas, biases, and scope of practice.

Purpose of the research paper

This research paper aims to analyze the different functions of the correctional psychologist. Within the analysis, the paper will unearth different issues related to the functions of the correctional psychologists, including ethical dilemmas and professional code of ethics that influence their daily activities. In addition, the analysis aims to create an understanding of the conflicts correctional psychologists often face when delivering their duties. The analysis telescopes the past events that characterize the field of correctional psychology to provide insights on the current and the future of…

Online Sources Used in Document:

The study provides a variety of opportunities for future research. For example, it provides an avenue for conducting research on the organizational factors that influence decision-making of the correctional psychologists. Organizational factors such as structure have been predicted to affect the practicing of correctional psychologists. Therefore, this study will provide the basis for studies into the issue. In addition, the study provides opportunities for future research on the contributing factors to the transformation of the correctional psychologists and their roles. Other ways in which this study will provide opportunities for future research include studies that aim at criticizing legitimacy of studies conducted on the topic.


Corriea, K.M. (2009). A Handbook for Correctional Psychologists: Guidance for the Prison Practitioner. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD

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