Applying Research in Correctional Settings

Week 9 Discussion

As you have seen throughout this course, psychological research can be applied in a variety of forensic psychology settings. Research that is specific to a particular setting and/or population can help the forensic psychology professional refine assessment and treatment techniques in that setting and for that population.

For example, in the past 25 years, incarceration rates have increased dramatically with the largest increase being that of individuals serving a sentence for drug-related crimes. This largely has been the result of the federal government’s “get tough on drugs” policy that began in the early to mid 1980s. As a result, substance abuse treatment in correctional settings has been increasingly popular, especially when incentives are offered to reduce the amount of jail time for the inmate who completes treatment. Today’s treatment of substance abuse in correctional settings is predicated on research that has demonstrated what does and does not work.

Substance abuse treatment is only one of the many areas a forensic psychology professional may be asked to address in a correctional setting. In this assignment you become familiar with research in other areas, all of which may be applied in correctional settings.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the article, “Innovations in Correctional Assessment and Treatment.” Focus on specific areas of mental health assessment and treatment in correctional settings, how these areas are studied, and the results.
  • Think about how you might apply the results of this study in a correctional setting.
  • Review this week’s DVD program, “Application of Psychological Research – Correctional Settings.” Consider the types of forensic psychology research questions that are relevant to correctional settings.
  • Using the library or search engine to select a psychological research study conducted in a correctional setting.
  • Review the section(s) on methods and results of the research study you selected and think about what you believe to be the most important contributions of the study for use in correctional settings.
  • Consider how a forensic psychology professional might apply the results of this study in a correctional setting.

With these thoughts in mind:

In APA formatting,

1) write a brief description of the research study you selected.
2) then, explain the parts of this study that you believe might be important for forensic psychology professionals working in correctional settings.
3 finally, explain how a forensic psychology professional might use the results of the study in a correctional setting.


Ax, R. K., Fagan, T. J., Magaletta, P. R., Morgan, R. D., Nussbaum, D., & White, T. W. (2007). Innovations in correctional assessment and treatment. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34(7), 893–905.

Kruh, I. P., Frick, P. J., & Clements, C. B. (2005). Historical and personality correlates to the violence patterns of juveniles tried as adults. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32(1), 69–96.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Understanding forensic psychology research: Application of psychological research – Correctional settings. Baltimore: Author.