Case study forensic psychology
1) A case study by 15th March 2016.
Please use as many references after 2010 as possible
For this, you need to pick ONE of the two “cases” below. Once you have decided on your case, you need to address the psychological issues and how you would assist in dealing with them at ONE of three stages:
a. Either: What psychological features, issues or characteristics should the investigation team consider when interviewing this individual and gathering other relevant evidence? What advice would you give the team and how is this supported by relevant literature? Please note: Psychological issues/features does not just mean “disorders” it may mean things such as memory, social influence, group dynamics and attitudes. These could be of the individual or of the police officers themselves.
b. Or: If the case came to trial, what might be the psychological features, issues or characteristics faced by the prosecution OR defence barristers in this case? What issues might the jury focus on? If you were asked to present a report to the jury, what advice would you give them and why? Use relevant literature to support your arguments. As before, this does not just mean disorders but may also include things such as non-verbal communication, understanding of scientific evidence and persuasion.
c. Or: If the person were tried and convicted and you were the forensic psychologist assigned to assess this person, how would you proceed with the assessment? What risk assessment tools would be most appropriate and why? How would you address the treatment implications? Draw on relevant literature in support of your answer.
So….in sum…pick your case and pick your stage….
Again, there will be opportunity in class to discuss your case studies and there will be a draft review session.
Case 1: Usman Iqbal
Usman is a 32 year old male who is married with two young sons. He is British by birth but his family are originally from Afghanistan and moved to the UK at the time of the Soviet Occupation in 1979. He has extended family who fled into Pakistan in 1980 and has visited them in Karachi on several occasions since childhood. Usman works in a call centre for a large insurance company in Birmingham. Although he gets on well with his colleagues, he keeps to himself at work and takes little part in the company social life; which seems to consist of his colleagues getting “bladdered” and “laid” on weekends. Instead he is actively involved in his local community, coaching a youth sports team and regularly acting as a “hospital driver” for older residents. His wife regularly helps older residents with their shopping and both are regarded as pillars of their local community.
As Usman lives in Birmingham, he is no stranger to racist victimisation or radical/extremist views from within his own community. Although a devout Muslim himself, he is seen by those around him as having “moderate” opinions. He actively supports his local mosque’s policy of religious tolerance and has been known to challenge speakers he perceives as being too radical. For this reason, his family and friends are shocked on 17th April 2013 when he is arrested and detained by police for “offences contrary to the Terrorism Act, 2000”. He is accused of conspiring to set off an explosive device at the forthcoming “Summer of Shakespeare” festival in nearby Stratford upon Avon. On searching his home, police find tickets to several of the festival events (which Usman claims were a surprise birthday treat for his wife), evidence of a recent trip to Pakistan as well as items that they describe as “incriminating” but which they will not disclose before questioning. Usman is taken into custody and is about to be formally interviewed.
Case 2: Lucy Arnett
Lucy is 42 and is a senior manager in CoverItAll Insurance in Rainycity. She has been working for the company for 16 years and has worked her way up from junior insurance adviser through to senior management and now has responsibility for managing a total of 8 staff. About a year ago, her husband of 20 years (Clive) told her that their marriage was over and moved out of the family home. According to friends and family, Lucy was absolutely devastated by this news and went “off the rails a bit” according to her mother. She started drinking heavily and had several short-term relationships and one-night stands.
Six months ago, a new junior clerk (Jason, aged 19) joined Lucy’s team. Lucy and Jason got on really well and went out for drinks on several occasions. On one of these nights, they both got a bit drunk and ended up kissing. The next morning at work, Jason told Lucy that he just wanted to forget about it as he was planning to get engaged and did not want to jeopardise his relationship. Lucy got very upset about this but agreed to leave things as they were. However, since then, Lucy has been making excuses to telephone Jason outside of work hours, asking him to stay late at work to help with projects and has been turning up in locations where Jason regularly visits. She has also been sending intimate letters and gifts to Jason’s home address and has been observed sitting in her car outside Jason’s house for several hours. This went on for about five weeks before Jason raised this with the Human Resources Department at CoverItAll and Lucy received a formal oral warning from her manager. Following the warning, Lucy’s behaviour became more aggressive and she started making obscene and threatening telephone calls to the house, screaming at Jason in the street and threatening to commit suicide unless he apologised for ruining her life. Jason felt that he had no alternative but to contact the police and Lucy was detained for questioning on suspicion of stalking.
1) Case study: All of the general points above can be translated into the case study too. However here you do need to make recommendations and justify them so you may want to lay it out differently. You CAN use a standard essay format if you want. You CAN use a professional report format if you want (e.g. with headings such as Executive Summary, Background, Recommendations, Support for Recommendations) but make sure you refer to the case details and the published literature for evidence. You could also have a series of separate documents/sections.
a. For example, if you were doing the investigation one, you might want to have one of the following formats:
i. A “summary” section, a “pre-interview preparation” section, a “behaviour during interview” section and a “follow-up/second interview” section – all of which would contain tailored advice and supporting evidence.
ii. A list of 3-4 recommendations (e.g. ensure that an appropriately qualified interpreter is present) and then evidence to back up that your recommendation is sensible
b. For the court one, you might have a summary of the issues, then a series of recommendations which your “side” should consider. Alternatively you might want to look at strengths which apply to your side and how the team could maximise them as well as identifying the things which the “other side” would highlight and how you could minimise their impact.
c. If you were tackling the court one and wanted to provide advice to the jury, remember the goal there is to help them make the most effective decision possible. This would perhaps include deciding what pieces of evidence/information are likely to influence them the most and highlighting how they could make a more objective decision. Or it could involve identifying what is most likely to prove confusing for them and how you could help to minimise confusion.
d. Finally, if you were doing the treatment and assessment one, you might have sections for “tools selected” “procedure for assessment” “issues identified” “treatment recommendations” “proposed evaluation of treatment” – again, all tailored to the topic and all involving evidence.
You will probably want to flesh it out a bit (e.g. you might want to talk about the psychological robustness/vulnerability of Carl, give Lucas’s victim more of a profile or consider what the other incriminating evidence is against Usman). However, you MUST make any fleshing out relate to your argument, the evidence you present and the recommendations you make. In short, you must make this piece of work as internally consistent as you can. Remember that your role is not to determine “whodunit” but to consider how the individual might behave during interview, come across in court or respond to treatment. So please don’t get too tied up in challenging the evidence itself – but consider how those making the decisions might perceive the evidence. If you want to flesh it out, then you can have a separate section called something like “case history,” “profile” “detailed case description” and you can write this without having to include it in your word count.
Also, you MUST pick your perspective (i.e. you must decide whether you are going to focus your case study on the investigation, court or treatment and stick to that perspective). And don’t forget that, for both assignments you need to include references in APA format.
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