Psychology and the Law

 Nature vs Nurture Debate in Criminal Behavior

The argument of nature versus nurture there is one very important discipline that can is majorly affected by the option of those in power, the criminal justice system. After research and several college level psychology courses I have reached the opinion that nurture has the greatest effect on the future criminal acts of person. The major factors which form the nurturing environment to create a criminal are the environment for childhood and adolescence, the social influence of peer friend groups, and previous victimization.  Many argue for a nature reason for criminal behavior citing biological factors on the future criminal behavior. However, I will argue that even if there are biological differences in the likely hood of risky behavior the surroundings will affect the likelihood that those risky behaviors become criminal. 

The environment in which one grows up in is unarguably important in proper mental development. Parents and other family members have the ability to unknowingly teach an uncountable number of social rules. (Hegger, 2015) I pose that the most important to future criminal behavior of these is consequences of actions. When raised in a consequence free environment from a young age a future involving issues with crime is often the outcome. Living in a broken household can add to the consequences-free aspect of young peoples lives. Without parents to turn to when in times of trouble has a negative effect on coping mechanisms possibly increasing likelihood of criminal behavior in the future. Not having a completely safe home to return to can cause young people to stay out longer and turn to friends for role models.

Friend groups can help a young person make good decision about their current situation as well as their future. While at the same time friends that partake in risky behavior increase an individual’s own likelihood of partaking in the same risky behavior. (Hegger, 2015) Unhealthy friendships may permanently harm an individual’s idea of socially acceptable behavior. In adulthood friendships with others involved in criminal behavior greatly increases the chances of being involved in similar criminal behaviors. This contributes to the court’s requirement that parolees not have contact with previous criminal partners. The past has a major effect on present thinking and past abuse can contribute to present criminal behavior

Adults who experienced childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse showed a three times greater chance of becoming violent in adulthood. (Hegger, 2015) Childhood abuse may be the most well-known and well-studied instance of experiences affecting future violent acts. the very unfortunate part of abuse is that it is often part of a cycle which has the abused becoming the abuser at a later time in their life. The projection of past trauma onto the current situation is often the catalyst to many domestic disputes which in itself creates the possibility of future abusive actions from the currently abused. Believers in the nature side of this debate would argue that abusers have different brain chemistry, however, some these brain differences can also be traced back to the nurturement in the early development of the young mind. 

On the nature side of this argument many argue that the root cause of violent acts is brain differences that these violent perpetrators are born with, however, I argue that these alone cannot be taken as the sole cause for violent outbursts without the current situation and previous experience allowing for the violence to surface. This is not a blanket idea, noting that there are several well studied and DSM acknowledged disorders which patients are born with that can lead to violence. Genetic research has in the past concluded that an extra Y chromosome can lead to violent behavior. This idea has been undoubtedly been proven false by more in depth research into the effect of three chromosomes on the human psyche. (Wasserman & Wachbroit, 2001) There is also many who claim that there is a rape or murder gene which genetically predisposed the carrier to violent acts like their parents. This research is often done on children of infamous serial criminals who themselves worry about their ability to commit crimes after the truth about their parent is revealed. To this point not a single study has been able to show any gene that predisposes the carrier to violence. Any violence in the life of serial criminals’ children can be traced back to the effect their parent had during their development. 

The goal for any member of the criminal court system is to reduce the number of criminals who go thru the court systems. Taking the side of nurture in the debate some strategies that could be effective are keeping up with children who have the markers which can be associated with future violence. The court system has the ability to gather information from currently incarcerated persons in order to inform which children may require extra educational or counseling intervention to prevent future criminal behavior. 

The Prototypical Campus Rapist’s Profile

The University of Wisconsin Platteville is home to close to eight thousand students. With this many people it is statistically probable that there will be sexual assault occur during a semester. In order to help prevent these assaults and apprehend the assailants it is important to understand who are these assailants. To understand the profile of these types of assailants can help to prevent victimization and catch the assailant.

In the world of a college campus one of the more dangerous types of assailants who prey upon college students are referred to as the Power Assertive Rapists.  These types of assailants find their victims at or around college bars. These attackers have little to no issue with hurting their victim. The assailants who fall into this type of assaulters have a tendency to find and attack their victims around single bars. In the case of a college town all bars frequented by college students falls into this category. This type of subject has a high self-esteem and will become known as a regular at these bars. Going to college bars is not only a tactic for hunting for potential rape victims but also the ability to flaunt any wealth and power which the subject has to those around them. When out at these bars as well as during everyday life the subject will do everything possible to put out the image of the manliness. Dressing with the current fashion trends will be important to the subject as long as these fashion trends keep with the image of masculinity that the subject does everything he can to project to everyone around him. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002) Power and wealth will be tied to the subject’s self-perceived social status. 

Jobs that will attract this subject are those jobs that have an idea of toughness connected to them. Masculine jobs will be of higher social status to this subject and any job that is tied to femininity in the eyes of this subject will be at a lower social status. Although the military will be seen as a great career to this subject allowing him to show off his masculinity all over the world, the militaries rules and regulations will not agree with the subject’s idea of a man. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002) The need to prove himself superior to everyone around him will likely lead to any military career to end in a dishonorable discharge. This discharge as well as other firings from jobs will likely be causes by issues with authority figures and fighting with others who challenge his perceived superiority complex.

The life history of a power assertive rapist is likely to be filled with failures both caused by the subject and those who raised him. It is very likely that the subject will have been raised in some type of broken home. It will be likely that the subject will have been raised in a single parent home or in foster care where in his mind it was necessary that he become the man of the household with no previous experience as to what it means to be a head of house. In adolescents it will be likely that this subject had some interactions with law enforcement. While police officers are seen a masculine the authority that they had over the subject in these interactions likely lead to a dislike of these police officers which could lead to a lifetime hatred of police or a need to be a better more masculine police officer himself. Although being married will be important to his masculine image his over masculinity will lead to issues in the marriages. It is very likely that the subject will have had a failed marriage even at a young age. The subject will likely be in a steady relationship during the time of the assaults. The partner of the subject will be very attractive in the eyes of the subject, although he will likely feel that he deserves a more attractive partner. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002)

Education will be an important part of the life of the subject. Being educated and having a diploma will elevate the self-image of the subject however, when it actually comes to schooling the subject will be a poor student. If the subject graduated high school it will have been very close not have happened. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002) When the subject got into college it will have greatly increased his perceived self-image and very likely caused him to flaunt the acceptance in front of everyone around them. The subject will likely have purchased many school clothing items to elevate himself. The subject’s masculinity will cause him to try out for or at least cheer on the male sports of the college. Once college begins for the subject will have a hard time keeping up with classes and having his very important social life. Even if the subject is kicked out of college, he may continue to hang out around the college campus particularly around the bars, parties and sporting events. 

The type of subject who falls into the power assertive rapist believes himself to be better than others around him and a gift to all women everywhere. The subject will believe himself to be a lady’s man. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002) Because of this belief the assaults carried out by the subject will not be his way of getting what he deserves from women. To this end he will likely attack women who he is sexually attracted to but cannot have as a partner. Being rejected for a one-night stand by a beautiful woman at a bar could trigger his need to attack the rejecter and take what he believes is due him. Victims will likely be of the same race as the subject as well as near the same age as the assaulter, if not younger.

When the power assertive rapist attacks his first victim it will be a very impulsive act as will be the rest of the attacks. The more assaults committed the less of an impulse it will take for the subject to attack a new victim. During the attack the subject will use force to get the victim to comply with his demands. Although the assault is not about sex, sex will be a very rough and multiple assaults will be common. Along with many instances of sex during the assault there will likely be many types of sex used to demine the victim. During the attack the subject may use vaginal, anal and oral sex to assault the victim. 

In order to prevent becoming a victim of a power assertive rapists there are several things that can be done. Because these type of attacker’s frequent single bars as a way to hunt for their victims it is important to be alert while at these bars. These attackers have inflated self-worth in the area of masculinity and may attack if this is threatened. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002)  If someone seems to be overly offended by a commit about their manhood is might be a good idea to stay away from them. If attacked by this type of rapist it is not a good idea to fight back, this will only make the attack more brutal. The best way to stop an attack is to fracture the ideal sex construct that the attacker has in their mind. 

Once apprehended this type of attacker would be very difficult to rehabilitate because of their urges that cause them to commit the attacks. By helping them understand that the sexual ideals that they have constructed from watching porn is not a healthy sexual encounter might have some success. Also rebuilding their connection between extreme masculinity and self-worth may help with the overcomplications that plague the entirety of their life. However, the best way to prevent these types of attacker from continuing to attack is to prevent them from being able to hunt for their victims. After release from custody it might be useful for the courts to issue orders preventing the attacker from going to the bars, they had previously found victims. At the same time counseling may help with the controlling of everyday urges to attack. 

Repeated Attempts to Leave Violent Relationships and Returning to Violent Partners 

On average a woman in an abusive relationship will attempt to leave the abusive partner seven times before finally leaving for good. There are many reasons for not leaving or returning after leaving including lack of money or other resources, embarrassment or shame, and a belief that abuse is normal. Knowing someone who is in an abusive relationship can be hard because of the likelihood of returning to the abuser. One possible way to help abused women get out is with polices that keep the abused away from the offender. 

When in a relationship the man is much more dominate than the woman it is much easier for the man to abuse the woman compared to a relationship of equality. Dominance in the relationship often includes dominance in the finical matters of both partners. (Buel, 1999)When the abused partner has no say in the finical dealing or money of their own it can be impossible to leave the relationship. This inability for self-support can cause victims to feel forced to return to their abuser just to have enough money to eat. 

A common form of emotional abuse is to convince the victim to isolate themselves from anyone other than the abuser. This helps the abuser get away with the abuse and often leave the abused feeling that they cannot go to anyone for help. (Buel, 1999) Friends and family of the abused may have previously stated their dislike or distrust for the abuser or if the abuser is good at hiding the darker side of them the friends and family may not be able to believe that the abuser is capable of the abuse. In either simulation the abuse victim may find it hard to tell those around them what is happening to them. This fear can be intensified if the abused returns to their abuser against the advice of family and friends after a previous escape attempt. These abuse victims are fearful that after leaving the abuse of their partner they may be forced to endure more abuse from family and friends in the form of ‘I told you so’. This fear that no one will be willing to help makes leaving their abuse seem impossible.

Another form of common emotional abuse is to convince the victim that the abuse is normal. If the abused grew up in a violent household or in foster care they may not know what a healthy relationship is like. (Buel, 1999) If this is the case leaving for good may not seem like an option because any relationship, they were in would be the same, allowing the abuser to get away with what they are doing with their victim not even thinking it is abuse. 

Having a friend or family member in an abusive relationship can be hard to deal with emotionally. If someone helps an abuse victim leave an abusive relationship and then the abused returns to the victim, it may seem like they are a lost cause. However, this type of victim blaming only further caused harm to the victim. In order to truly help a domestic abuse victim, it is important to tell them to get out of the relationship no matter how many times they go back to the abuser. If they go back to their abuser it is important to remind them of the abuse. Often abusers lure back their partners by promising that they have changed. It is impossible to say that abusers cannot change but to completely go back to someone who is abusive can be very risky. I would encourage anyone in that situation to not completely go back to the abuser if they are planning on going back to them. Gradually moving back into the relationship allows the abused to see if there is a possibility of change in the relationship. Also setting a boundary is important, telling the abuser that if they ever do anything to hurt their partner again that they will leave and never come back may help the abuser to see that there are consequences to their actions. 

Unfortunately, these practices only help to improve the relationship if the abuser wants to improve and the abused sticks to the rules. If the abused family and friends give up on (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016)them, it can cause them to never be able to leave. This is why it is important to never give up on any friend or family member in need of help. It may be necessary to involve the police to keep the two parties away from each other with restraining orders and arrests of the abuser. However, if the victim feels that someone is trying to keep them apart it may cause them to want to go against these orders. No Contact Orders may cause the abuser and abused to run away from family and friends which further hurts the abused chances of getting out of the relationship if necessary. Taking the power away may push the two parties closer together and further the idea that the relationship is important. Because of this I believe that society should be very careful with the ability to separate any abusive relationship. Even if it may save may live blindly using this approach on any case of domestic abuse may cause greater harm in some cases than good. 

The Proud Boys: The Future of Domestic Terrorism

As we move toward the second decade of the 21st century a major threat to peace in this country and around the world continues to be domestic terrorism. The largest threat of these groups in my opinion is a group who call themselves The Proud Boys. This group has the potential to cause much harm to the United States and it is important to watch for signs that they may be ready to do great harm. 

The Proud Boys were created by one man and continue to be led by a group of so-called elders. The smaller chapters of the group often gather together in larger far right political events and bring in new members from other groups at these types of events. Although the main portion of the group has strict rules for entry to the boys the messages that they spread go out to a much larger audience. The main group who carry out the planning of large gathering and attacks acts as a top down organization their social media reach allows them to have a much larger following if lone wolf sudo-members who I believe become the bigger threat than the main structure of the group. The Proud Boys are very good at recruiting members either fully or just for a particular rally from other far-right activism groups. The ability for this group to grow and shrink and intermingle with other groups allows them to have a bigger base of supporters and possible human weapons at the ready for any violence that they deem to be necessary for their cause. 

The cause that these Proud Boys are fighting for are the ‘western male values’ that they feel are under siege. These views have many elements of the white genocide theories. (Gorcenski, 2017) Although they calm not to have superextremist views they do have members who participate in the other superextremist rallies and organizations. Because this group is not in the extremes of the right and are much more violent than most electable republicans, they are able to pull supporters from both groups and essentially be a non-sanctioned militant arm on the mainstream republicans and the starting point for future extremists. 

The Proud Boys as the name implies only allows men to be a part of their ranks. (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016) They also restrict entry to white men and the newness of the group as well as the current political climate has made the Proud Boys a magnet to a large number of young white men. 

The future of the Proud Boys organization and all of their follower is uncertain at this point; however, it is important to understand what can be done now to prevent this group from becoming the next great threat to American Society and the long-lost idea of world peace. Due to the political nature of the group’s ideology and cause any and all actions against them could be construed as government interference in their group. The right as a whole is for less government interference in everyday life which means that attempts to stop this group would draw more members into the group. The fact the group publicly puts forth a less than non-extremist ideology it is possible to monitor group members and arrest any planning or taking part in extreme violence without completely exciting the groups anti-government interference ideals. On the other hand, violence at protests has been a specialty of the Proud Boys since their inception so any and all attempts to prevent protests or what in their eyes is necessary violence will only help prove to group members the need for these violent protests. The top down portion of this group does allow for easy following of possible future attacks and should be monitored if there is fear of an attack, however, the lone wolf aspect makes this much harder. Monitoring any websites and chatrooms utilized by the group will give an idea of anything being planned weather the planning involves the whole group or a small group of followers. 

The Proud Boys has the best of both worlds where their organization is conserved. They have the structure to keep big plans secret and the ability to reach many followers in the lone wolf style. The group also publicly straddles the middle between mainstream and extreme which allows for pulling more help from both sides in times of need. These reasons are why I believe that the Proud Boys constitute the biggest threat of domestic terrorism to the United States in the next ten years.

Behavior Analysis Unit Disorganized Asocial Killer Profile

The crime scene image presented is stated to be the work of an asocial disorganized serial murderer. There are many aspects of the visible crime scene that support this theory. Further investigation will likely show more aspects consistent with the profile of an asocial disorganized serial killer. It is important to note the aspects of the crime scene which contradict the stated profile in sharing characters with an organized serial killer. 

In viewing the image there are many parts which show consistency with an asocial disorganized serial killer. In the image there are many items on the floor of the apartment which may show chaotic nature to the crime and no care to not leaving evidence behind. The body being found at the crime scene also may show the carelessness of the killer. The way in which the body was left also is consistent with the profile of a disorganized serial killer, being that the body being hung upside down in a suite of armor wile wrapped in lights could be an act to depersonalize the victim in the eyes of the killer. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002)

In the continued investigation of the scene it would likely to find many other characteristics that match the profile of an asocial disorganized serial killer. Depending on the cause of death which cannot be fully surmised by the picture the murder weapon would likely be found at the scene with no attempt to remove fingerprints or DNA from the weapon or other areas of the scene. The disorganized killer seldom makes any attempts to reduce or remove the physical evidence of their crimes from the scene. It would be unlikely to find a personal connection between the victim and the killer due to a disorganized killers usual lack of pervious knowledge or relationship to the victim. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002)It is possible that the killer used the body for postmortem sexual acts but the way the body was found and the fact that disorganized killer often does not move or pose their victims after the killing would suggest against the use of the deceased body in this way.

In viewing the image of the crime scene there are several characteristics that are inconsistent with the profile of a disorganized asocial killer and rather fit within the characters of an organized killer. The use of restraints on the victim is a common trait of organized serial killer. The dressing up of the victim during or immediately after the death as the killer did also may show a large amount of planning before committing the crime. The stringing up of the victim’s dead body shows the control of an organized killer. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002)

During the hunt for a disorganized asocial killer one of the best ways to find suspects is to look into anyone hanging around the crime scene. The killer will often go back to the scene and may also attend any funeral or memorial service for the victim. Looking into the records of the attendees for someone who fits the profile will greatly increase the chances of catching the killer.

When a suspect is caught by police there are very different types of interrogation tactics to use on an organized versus a disorganized killer. When interrogating a disorganized killer one thing that the interviewer can do is to empathize with the subject, or at least appear to empathize with the killer. Allowing and encouraging the suspect to tell what they have done will be the best way to get admit anything. Any type of conversation with the suspect will help the interviewer. (Holmes & Holmes, 2002) This type of killer leads a very singular life and having personal contact will be beneficial to the relationship between the interviewee and the suspect. Demands and accusations toward the suspect will negatively affect this relationship which is the best way to get the suspect to confess. 

Ideal versus Typical - Factor Theory of Personality in Law Enforcement

Of the five factors of the OCEAN Theory of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, it is possible to pick two of them which show the biggest discrepancy between what would like to be shown by the ideal law enforcement officer and what is seen in the typical law enforcement officer. 

The five factors all exist on a spectrum for each individual personality. Openness to experience can be described as the appreciation of many different things including adventure, unusual ideas and new experiences. People with high openness would be open to experiencing, emotionally more sensitive and curious.  Conscientiousness can be described as the tendency to display self-discipline, to control and direct one’s impulses. People displaying high levels of conscience may be seen by others as stubborn or focuses on the current task. Extraversion is characterized by the breath of the activities participated in as opposed to the depth of participation. The extraversion of a person can be connected to their outgoingness and social involvement. For the rest of this essay extraversion will be considered for the entirety of the life not just social life. Agreeableness can be shown as the amount if concern for social harmony. This includes the likelihood of keeping the peace’ by making sure that every party’s requirements are met while keeping from giving too much to any one party. Neuroticism can be described as the tendency to experience any negative emotion. These negative emotions include anxiety, depression and basic negativity. 

It is very easy to say what the perfect police officer could be when picking from categories like building with Legos. In reality those persons who are drawn to and make the cut to become a police officer do not match the ideal versions of officers. Out of the five factors previously set forth in my opinion the two factors, in which typical law enforcement officers vary from the ideal officers are; neuroticism and extraversion. 

Displaying negative emotions in general is not a positive personality trait. There is a long running idea that longer serving police officers are emotionally harder because of experiences on the job. Anxiety off the job may include not being able to relax in a public setting with out their service pistol. Depression is also having extremely high rate of existence in police officers. This is often blamed on what an officer sees while on the job. In the ideal police officer the resiliency against depression would be greater and the anxiety would have less of a hold on everyday life. 

Being willing to go outside of their own comfort zone is not normally thought of as trait of police officers. The comfort zone is where safety is located. All of the training that police officers are required to under take teaches to keep their own safety and the number one priority. This anti-extraversion can break out into the rest of the time on the job and to the life outside of work of a police officer. The perfect police officer would be cautiously extraverted while keeping within the rules of safety. 

The main long term effect that these two negative personality traits have on the job done by the individual police officer is the longevity of the officer in the field. Anxiety, depression and closing off from the outside world can lead to an early end to what could have been a long and successful career as an officer of the law. Because of the high turn over and lower retention rates this can cause it can be more difficult for department to properly protect and serve the public. 

These traits negative traits are not a hidden prerequisite for becoming a police officer. The job required of a police officer has a negative effect on the personality of the police officer. Without the proper critical incident stress management horrific events witnessed or experienced by the officer can build the anxiety felt by the officer and cause the officer to feel like anything outside of the police department is dangerous and terrible leading to introversion.

Mental Health Professionals as Members of Crisis Incidence Teams

In the present average police department’s crisis incidence team, there are seldom mental health professionals and the teams are most comprised of seasoned police officers. There are advantages to this approach and disadvantages. As the required responses of these crisis response teams moves from large hostage situations to barricade events there are several reasons that a mental health professional should be added to every crisis response team. 

The current majority of crisis incident teams fall under the police majority mental health professional minority. In many small police departments, there may not be the opportunity to have a mental health professional as a part of the team. There are several advantages to this team buildout.  Crisis incident teams are called out as a part of police operations to protect the public and to uphold the law of the area for which they serve. The main objective of the crisis incidence team is the safety of the officers on scene, any civilians in the area and whomever has caused the situation to become a crisis. The basic buildout of this type of team has at least three members. The first two being the primary negotiator and the secondary negotiator who is mainly in place to listen to all conversations between the subject and the primary negotiator. The secondary does not normally speak to the subject because including too many people in the negotiations can cause things to be said by one person and disagreed with by the other. This one-person speaking is used to preserve the conversation points and reduce the going back over the same points several times. The third member of the team is the commander of the operation who has the task of coordinating with the other officers on scene. This type of team has the advantages of being very well trained and trusted from the days when hostage situations were commonplace. These classic negotiation teams are very good at what they have been trained to do which is to negotiate. If the subject is willing to negotiate with the team then the team can move into action and negotiate everything from that point on, in order to bring about a swift end to the situation. The places where these teams struggle is in dealing with the increasingly more common barricade events which often include a subject with mental health issues which often do not respond well to the traditional negotiation style.

In the event of a barricade event which includes a subject with mental health issues the traditional crisis incidence team. In a blind situation where very little to nothing is known about the subject a mental health professional may be able to better talk to someone who is experiencing mental health issues better than an officer who was trained based on the idea that the subject is a criminal who needs to be taken out. Alternately if it is known that the subject has been diagnosed with a particular mental health disorder a member of the mental health community is more likely to be able to understand what issues may arise due to the current mental state of the subject, as compared to an untrained police officer. It could be argued that a metal health professional may not be able to make the decision to allow the tactical team to take over when necessary. However, if equal footing is given to both the tactical team and the negotiator this should not be an issue as long as both sides are allowed to be fully heard out on their reasoning for decisions rather than the tactical team having final say. 

Over time there has been a steady move away from the classic hostage negotiation with either basic criminals who took hostages as a last resort, or well planned out hostage taking for political statement, toward the barricade of an individual who may be having mental health issues. Because of this shift of the majority of responses required of the crisis incident teams there is no doubt that a mental health professional could be a beneficial addition to any team. Those who argue against the mental health professional being the negotiator should be educated in what the mental health professional can do to help the situation while the mental health professional should be educated as to the criteria for handing a situation over to the tactical team. I also believe that if the mental health professional was put in at the secondary negotiator whose main job is to listen and give advice to the primary, this could be beneficial not only when the subject is displaying signs of mental health issues but in all situations.

The Complete Lie Free, Truth About Detecting Deception 

Lying is the act of giving false information most often by saying something that is not true to someone. Deception on the other hand is an attempt to convince someone of a fact that you do not know to be the truth. Deception requires that the person giving the information believe that the other party has the urge to know the truth and if they find out that they have been told anything but the truth it would result in repercussions. (Frank, Menasco, & O'Sullivan, 2018)The main distinction between lying and deception is the intent of the person giving the information. Lying can be done without the person telling the lie ever knowing that they in fact lied. If the person who lied believes to a reasonable extent what they are saying to be the truth while what they believe to be true is fact not the complete truth this act is considered a lie. Deception is somewhat inverse of the idea of lying. It is possible to deceive someone with the truth if it is not known to be the complete truth. As long as the deceiver is attempting to convince others of this fact, and they themselves do not believe to be completely the truth. (Schafer, 2017)

Human beings are very good at reading facial expressions such as happy, sad, angry or worried. However, the ability to tell if a person is lying gets increasingly harder the more the person who is engaging in deception has confidence in their version of the truth and the less familiar the person attempting to detect the deception is with the person who is doing the deceiving. The facial expressions of someone who is telling a lie to their partner is not the same as the expression made when attempting to hide the fact that they are the killer and do in fact know where the body is hidden. Because of this there is no way to have a scientific set of criteria which if met indicate that the person is attempting to deceive those around them. The biggest issue with detecting deception is that deception does not manifest the same way from person to person or from an individual act of deception to another. (Adelson, 2004)

As far as detecting deception currently stands the only way to improve the scientific validly of any and all attempts to prove who is lying and who is not, is to create a scientific approach to what factors can be recorded which correlate with deception and only with deception. The biggest issue with the use of the Polygraph’s use in the attempted detection of deception is the false positives caused by stress which is almost always present in cases where the accuracy of a Polygraph is most important. If it is possible, come up with a set of parameters which can prove that someone is being deceptive there is still an issues with the consider everyone a suspect until the test proves otherwise. The main issue that I have with this approach is that if is in direct opposition with the ideal that the United States Criminal Justice system is built on and that is that a person is innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. Proving that someone has deceived the police proves nothing more than that person attempted to hide something from the police. The act of lying to the police may in some instances be a crime on its own but cannot be used solely to prove further crimes. (Frank, Menasco, & O'Sullivan, 2018)

Detecting a false positive or a false negative while attempting to detect deception are both very large issues with the current use of lie detection in the criminal justice system. A false negative is the worse of the two options in my opinion. With a false positive in a proper criminal investigation there would still need to be more evidence to prove that that particular person was deceiving to cover up their connection to the crime. While a false negative with other circumstantial evidence may cause the investigators to look elsewhere for good suspects allowing the perpetrator to commit more crimes or escape before evidence can conclusively prove their guilt. 

Three C’s of Resiliency: Control, Challenge and Commitment

According to Suzanne Kobasa’s The Hardy Personality the three C’s of Resiliency are control, challenge, and commitment. In the life of a police officer resiliency is a very important part of dealing with the jobs requirements. Unfortunately, the job of being a police officer can be in direct contradiction to the three C’s. (Kobasa, 1982)

Control is an important part of resiliency because after experiencing a traumatic accident which took the lives of someone who had no control of the situation may make an officer feel they have no control. They may begin to feel that they have no control in any part of their life. This can be exaggerated by the true lack of control officers have in the law after an arrest is made. After an arrest is made by an officer it is under control of the court system. A suspect who the officer arrested and brought to jail may be released by the court system. This overruling of the officer’s arrest could have a massive effect on the feeling of control the officer has over their life and job. 

Challenge is included in the three parts of resiliency as it is important to grow thru tough experiences. By learning from bad experiences and mistakes the personal growth of the officer can be extremely influenced. The term most often used is leaning into discomfort. The main issue this idea faces when integrated in to the life and work of a police officer is that leaning toward discomfort may cause the officer to put themselves in harms way. Many superstitious people will talk about gut feelings. In the intense training officers go through to graduate the academy and the years of work they put in they grow in the subconscious knowledge that makes up that gut feeling. In a life or death situation going against the suggestion of the subconscious knowledge of the gut feeling could prove deadly. 

Commitment is a big part of resiliency because holding on to the purpose of life can make it easer to get thru harder parts of life and the job of being a police officer. The issue that plagues many police officers is that the commitment to the job of being a police officer can overtake all other parts of their life. Outside of work the officer may have nothing to do in order to replace the thoughts of work. Worse yet if an officer becomes burnt out they may have nothing to go to after the job ends. 

In order to strengthen each of these factors in a positive way it is important for the officer to know the negatives of not having control, challenge and commitment in their lives. By offering the officers positive ways to strengthen each factor of resiliency as a group rather than individually could help those who do not know where to start. An after work volunteer opportunity which allows the officers to be in control, commit to a long term goal, and challenge themselves could be beneficial to the whole department. 

Officers should undertake critical incident stress management often. However, it would not be beneficial to have the team lead by a higher ranked officer in the department. This would help with attendance but would be detrimental to the feeling to be able to talk freely in front of a command officer. A police psychologist would be able to help in a group setting and suggest one on one treatment for officers who may need more stress management. 

The Effectiveness of Professional Jurors

The main way that the average American citizen can be an active part of the criminal court system in a constructive way is to serve on a jury. The right of an individual to have a jury trial is guaranteed by the 6th, 7th and 14th amendments to the constitution. Only 10% of state trials end up before a trial while 50% of federal cases go before a trial. Having the responsibility of deciding a court case is an important duty for a citizen. However, when most people receive the notice to report for jury duty, they see it as something to get out of rather than a civic duty. The result of many people who are actively attempting to remove themselves from the jury pool, juries are made up of a specific grouping of people rather than the jury of peers which the defendant has the right to be heard before. One idea that will be discussed to remove these issues with the current system is the professional juror. 

The definition of an effective juror is that of much debate. To the tax payer who is given the exponentially growing cost of justice the most effective jury is a quick to decide jury. For those who are accused of crimes the most effective jury is a jury which holds the reasonable doubt to a high standard so that jury never may never convict an innocent person. To the criminal justice system and society, the most effective jury is the one which always convicts the guilty party to protect society and punish the offender. I have come to the long thought-out decision that the most effective jury must first be the jury which convicts the guilty, followed by not convicting an innocent party. That leaves the money as the last thing that should be used to consider a jury as effective. Therefor the operational definition of an effective jury is one who does its best to convict the guilty party. (Taggert, 2016)

A set of jurors who have no other obligations but to sit on juries could be seen as a better way that conscripting citizens to serve. The effectiveness of a jury that continually sits on these juries would be more than that of a jury of amateurs. A major part of a jury trial is made up by the lawyers attempting to get the jury to like them and not to trust the other side. With a constant small pool of jurors that would have no effect as the jurors would have previous experience with the trial process. The relative expertise of a professional juror would make the process of expert witness’s easer as jurors would have experience with the difference between a witness and an expert who is examining evidence from the case. 

There are two types of professional juries mainly championed by the supporters of the movement toward professional juries; juries made of a panel of judges, a panel of civil servant jurors. In my opinion in order to keep in a similar idea of the jury of peers the panel of judges would create too much of a gap between the lower classes and those who are deliberating on the cases. The panel of civil servants would have a similar issue but it would be less pronounced than judges. 

Getting on the panels would also be an area of contention for the fairness of the panel. If the members were appointed to the role the group with the power to appoint would have undue power to decide the outcome of cases. However, the issue with elected officials which I have previously discussed with the idea of judges, is that their decisions would be made in order to keep themselves in office. In the perfect world there would be a large enough group of people who wanted the job that they could be elected to the group to prevent a single person from being elected for their vote. 

There should be a minimum standard of knowledge for these panel members to be allowed to be a part of the professional juries. Ideally all members would have a basic knowledge of the laws and of criminal science to allow them to better understand the testimony given before them. In this the most imperfect world the jurors should have some post-secondary education. This education need not be a four-year degree or even a full college degree, just a continuation from the end of their high school education. The court system would also need to have a training course for theses jurors, which could be started with the current system of armature juries.

Difficulties in Competency Hearings for the Developmentally Delayed and Mentally Ill

When a person in taken to court they have the opportunity if not the responsibility to assist in their defense against the charges they have against them. These people are also almost always asked to take the stand by either the prosecution or defense to testify in the trial. When the defendant is a child, a developmentally delayed adult or suffers from a mental illness this process can be much harder on them. The main times that these aspects of the defendant most often have an impact on the court case is before the trial if the question of competency to stand trial is brought up, at the time when plea bargains may be discussed and at the end of the trial if the suspect is found guilty. 

Before a trial can commence of a defendant who is suffering from a mental illness the defense team may ask the judge to order the defendant to be rules competent to stand trial if it is believed the mental illness had an effect on the crime. If the judge so orders the defendant then is to undergo a NGRI or not guilty by reason of insanity evaluation. If the defendant is suffering from a mental illness this time would not be detrimental to them as they would be getting the help that they need and would not likely be getting at a jail or holding facility at the same level of care. If a child is being ruled to be competent to stand trial as an adult for their crimes, they also will have to be undergo an evaluation as to their understanding of right from wrong and what crime was committed.

Depending on the crime committed and the prosecuting attorney there may be a plea bargain offered to prevent or end a trial that is going on and most often reduce the jail time that is to be served by the accused. In the event that the accused is suffering from a mental illness or is developmentally delayed they may not have a proper understanding of the process they are undergoing or the significance of the plea bargain and any of the consequences of the plea bargain. This issue is especially prevalent in cases where the defendant may be told they have no chance of being found innocent even though they are in fact innocent. 

Being mentally ill or developmentally delayed may make it harder to help with the defense in court but it may also make it more likely that they may be incorrectly found guilty. The actions of a mental ill or developmentally delayed individual may seem to be like the average person acting guilty to a jury with no experience with mental illness or developmental delay. 

A person who has a mental illness, is developmentally delayed or is under the legal age of majority should not be treated by the court system as if these issues do not exist. Any evidence that there where extenuating mental circumstances which had an effect on the crime which was committed should be taken into account before a legal decision on the guilt of the individual can be made. 

Minors being tried before the court as adults is a openly discussed issue. In a single year more than seven thousand juvenile defendants where charged with felonies in adult criminal court. Two thirds of the juvenile defendants charged with a felony were convicted of some crimes in the court, if not the felony of the original charge then a misdemeanor. (Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statisics, n.d.) Charging a minor with an adult crime should be reserved for those crimes of the most vicious manor committed by someone who was aware of their actions. 

The United States Prison Problem

A common rallying cry for the United States of America is ‘We are number 1’. In many important ways this is far from true but in one major way this is undoubtably true. The United States has the highest incarnation rate in the world. (World Prison Brief, n.d.) Out of every 100,000 citizen six hundred and fifty-five are in prison in the United States. Unless magically all the criminals are only born in the United States there are some other factors that are effecting the number of people in prison in the United States.

Within the United States there continues to be a epidemic of discrimination which was attempted to be stomped out during the civil rights movement but has found more victims after the events of September 11, 2001 and the current era of immigration fear mongering. A major form of this discrimination continues to be the use of laws to keep those minority groups down. This began after the abolishment of slavery with lynching being legal or even undertaken by the local police against both criminals and those minority members who were thought to be growing too much like the majority group. After the worst terrorist attack on United States soil perpetrated by men of middle eastern origin all peoples from this area became the target of not just discrimination but of laws that were utilized to target these people. This includes the stop and frisk issues which came to a head in New York City which remains scared nearly twenty years later. This can be connected to the main ideas of conflict theory of deviancy. These groups are being put down by society and they will fight back, unfortunately some of this fighting is not of the legal type. The discrimination does not just cause the discriminated groups to act against the oppressive group just to act out but also because a lot of the vocalized discrimination is calling those of minority groups criminals. This is closly connected to the labeling theory. When young people spend their entire life being told that they will become criminals they may believe this fact and therefor become a criminal because they feel it is what is expected of them. 

The United States is known for the American Dream. This is the white picket fence goal of everyone who is born or moves to this country. This dream can be very hard to achieve especially for these who have little to nothing to start off with. This conflict between the cultural goal and the need to do something not possible to reach the goal has been described by the social strain theory. 

If a prison sentence is to help the convicted person and protect society then the excessively long sentences for drug crimes is not really helping anyone. A prison is not a impenetrable fortress away from drugs and just allows those who have been convicted of drug crimes to congregate and plan for the future. A major change should be to move toward more rehabilitation programs for drug offences. Of course many in society would feel that this would allow dangerous criminals out on the street rather than allowing people with serious problems get the help that they need. This would also cost a lot of money in the counseling and tracking of these offenders until they complete their rehabilitation. 

The use of work release programs which would allow low risk prisoners to continue to work their jobs during the day and to be incarnated at night would likely remove the acclimation to prison life that many long time convicts use as an excuse for reoffending after release. This would remove the majority of the grouping of criminals together to allow them to plan future crimes issue. This would likely also make many in society to believe that these convicted persons are free to commit more crimes rather than allowing them to be contributing citizens while also serving their punishment. There would likely be a requirement for the GPS tracking of these work released people which would carry with it a great deal of cost to the tax payers. 

An Engineers Involvement in the Criminal Justice System

As an electrical engineer in training who happens to have a love of psychology which has placed me in the track to receive a minor in psychology along with my degree in engineering my own involvement in the criminal justice system will be much less than my classmates who themselves are on track to be police officers, social workers, and despite the best work of the professor most likely for one a forensic psychologist. But being a member of society requires involvement at some level in the justice system. As a voting citizen it is my responsibility to be a conscious citizen as to the ideal held by elected officials. The law writing and enforcement may be in the hands of politicians and the judges of this country their reelection is in my hands. In likely the very near future there will come a time for a vote for the legalization of marijuana in the state which I call home. At this time, I will have a vote in the changing of laws that put many people into jail or prison for an amount of time that I feel is often way too long for the crime which was committed. In terms of social injustice every single person weather or not they are objectively a terrible, terrible person and feel that they have no obligation to fix society’s downfalls they do. I do have and will do my very best to fight to end these injustices when they are encountered. No single person lives in a bubble and is not affected by the discrimination in this world and it is every single person’s obligation to help to prevent the future of this discrimination. Working in a male dominated field the biggest obstacle will be the overcoming of thought of standing alone. There is nothing wrong with standing along as long as you are standing for what you believe in with the entirety of your being. 


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