Assignment 1: Forensic Assessment Report Writing
Evaluation report writing is an essential component of a psychology professional’s work with clients in the legal system. The results of evaluations have to be reported accurately to third parties and have to be written in a clear and plain language that reflects the information obtained from all relevant sources, including the evaluator’s subjective opinion, the collateral information, and the objective test data. Accurate reporting of information to courts is crucial since it will potentially have great influence on the outcomes of the relevant legal proceedings.
Using your textbook and the Argosy University online library resources, discuss how you would write (in about 350 words) and present a risk assessment to the parole board, considering the following:
The influence of the Daubert Standard on the written report
The concept of reasonable certainty in reporting objective and subjective data in the report
The importance of basing results of the assessment on normative data
The reporting of client’s response styles during the assessment
Your preparedness to conduct a peer review of the written risk assessment
Forensic Assessment Report Writing
The Daubert Standard would have a strong influence on the writing of the report. It is important to note that forensic psychology professionals play a critical role as primary sources for professional information. The Daubert Standard influences the written report in that it requires the report to have an adequate scientific backing coupled by reliability of the report and relevance with regard to the legal issues raised in the court (Woody, 2016). In examining the written report, judges must evaluate whether the theory and principles applied are testable and whether the scientific community accepts the methods.
It is important to ensure that there is reasonable certainty in writing the report with regard to the nature of data used. The written report significantly determines the outcome of the hearing if adopted by the court. The forensic professional should reveal all details of the evaluation, including the limitations faced during the analysis. The forensic psychology professional should ensure that the report is objective in order to facilitate fair decision-making. The forensic psychology professional should rely on normative data to draw conclusions. Normative data is derived from large and randomly selected samples obtained from the general population. Normative data seeks to describe phenomena, rather than explaining the phenomena as it occurs. Normative assessments can help forensic professionals in comparing the behavior of individual to that of a group.
The forensic psychology professional should report client’s responses in order to enhance the aspects of corroborated information. Reporting of the client’s responses ensures that there is collateral information rather than merely relying on assertions made by the examinee. Reporting of the response styles ensures that there is collateral information available that can be used to reach a conclusive decision with regard to the issue at hand. It also helps in affirming that the professional conducted a personal examination of the client (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006).
As a forensic psychology professional, one should be able to conduct a peer review of the written risk assessment. Conducting a peer review helps in ensuring that the procedures and methods used are supported by current scientific approaches and in establishing theories that may be applicable in future scenarios (Melton, Petrila, Poythress, & Slobogin, 1997). A peer review may also entail involving various peers that may help streamline the report in case of errors. This helps in ensuring accountability and adding credibility to the written risk assessment. Peer review will thus be conducted by consulting the various partners in the scientific community involved in clinical and forensic work.
Woody, R. H. (2016). Psychological testimony and the daubert standard. Psychological Injury and Law, 9(2), 91-96. doi:10.1007/s12207-016-9255-5
Kalmbach, K. C., & Lyons, P. M. (2006). Ethical issues in conducting forensic evaluations. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2(3): 2-30. Retrieved from http://www.apcj.org/documents/2_3_Ethics_foren.pdf
Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., & Slobogin, C. (1997). Psychological Evaluations for the Courts — A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers, 2nd Edition. Guilford Press.
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