SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC821316
Module Leader Mairi Fleming
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module looks at the respective roles of policing and prisons within a criminal justice framework, identifying similarities and differences between the two agencies, from investigation, charge and conviction of a criminal offence, to custody in a secure environment, to preparation for release back into the community. Policing component: This emphasises gaining an in-depth understanding of forensic psychology in a police context and the application of psychological knowledge to aspects of police work. Police work will be covered from operational, research and training points of view using both theoretical and practical approaches. Topics covered include: intelligence analysis; suspect identification; interviewing of suspects and witnesses; interrogations and confessions; public protection; and the policing approach to violence reduction. Secure settings component: This considers the contribution of forensic psychology to custodial settings in the UK. The implications of government criminal justice policies and new legislation will be examined and the challenges they present for applying psychology in prisons. The role of the forensic psychologist will be discussed in areas such as prisoner assessment and interventions, research and training and strategic development. The application of psychological theories and models will be illustrated at an operational level in relation to topics such as risk management, interventions to address prisoner needs and outcomes, and systemic issues such as violence in prisons.


-317 Policing Interviewing suspects -317 Interviewing witnesses (Inc. eyewitness identification and interrogative suggestibility) Intelligence analysis Public protection Violence reduction and offender management -317 Secure settings -317 The role of the reflective practitioner psychologist in interdisciplinary team working Risk and needs management Young offenders and children in custody and secure settings Visits to forensic settings (e.g. Ayr Clinic) The impact of imprisonment Violence in forensic settings

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:Discuss the main developments in forensic psychology applied to a police setting.Understand the theoretical and practical differences between interviewing suspects and interviewing witnesses.Have an understanding of the work of the police in protecting the public from serious offenders.Discuss areas of police work that hold future research possibilities for psychologists.Understand the relevance of current penal policy and its implications for the role and responsibilities of a forensic psychologist working in the prison setting.Discuss the effects of imprisonment on offenders and on those who work in the prison setting.Review current best practice on the assessment and management of prisoner risk and needs, from admission through progression and release into the community.Demonstrate an understanding of the incidence and prevention of violence in prisons.Have an understanding of the particular issues concerning young offenders held in a custodial or secure setting.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Lectures with discussion. Directed independent and private study. Visit to HMP Barlinnie An assessment - a choice between a Policing or Prisons related topic.

Indicative Reading

Some Relevant Reading: Policing: Alison, L. (2005). The Forensic Psychologist's Casebook: Psychological Profiling and Criminal Investigation. Devon: Willan. Bull, R., Valentive, T., & Williamson, T. (2009). Handbook of psychology of investigative interviewing: Current developments and future directions. Wiley-Blackwell. Cutler, B. L. (Ed.). (2009). Expert testimony on the psychology of eyewitness identification. American psychology-law society series. New York: Oxford University Press. Gudjonsson, G. H. (2003). The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions. Chichester: Wiley. Fulero, S. M. (2009). System and estimator variables in eyewitness identification: A review. In D. A. Krauss, & J. D. Lieberman (Eds.), Psychological expertise in court: Psychology in the courtroom, vol. 2. (pp. 57-78). Burlington, US: Ashgate Publishing Co. Memon, A., Meissner, C.A. & Fraser, J. (2010). The Cognitive Interview: A meta-analytic review and study space analysis of the past 25 years. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16, 340-372. Milne, R. & Bull, R. (1999). Investigative Interviewing: Psychology and Practice. Chichester: John Wiley. Needs, A., & Towl, G. (2004). Applying psychology to forensic practice. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. Vrij, A. (2008). Detecting lies and deceit: Pitfalls and opportunities. Chichester: Wiley Williamson, T. (Ed.) (2006). Investigative interviewing: Rights, research and regulation. Cullompton, UK : Willan. Prisons: Adler, J.R .and Gray, J.M. (2010) Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice. (2nd ed) Cullompton UK: Willan. Crewe, B. (2009) The Prison Society. Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison. Clarendon Studies in Criminology: Oxford University Press. Crighton, D. & Towl, G. (2008) Psychology in Prisons (2nd ed) Leicester: BPS/Blackwell. HM Prison Service and National Probation Service (2003) Driving Delivery: A strategic framework for psychological services in prisons and probation. London: HM Prison and Probation Service. Ireland, C.A. & Fisher, M.J. (2010) Consultancy and Advising in Forensic Practice. BPS Blackwell. Jones, T. & Newburn, T. (2002) Policy convergence and crime control in the USA and the UK. Criminology and Civil Justice, (2), 173-203. Kemshall, H. (2008) Understanding The Management of High Risk Offenders Open University Press: McGraw Hill. Liebling, A. & Maruna S. (2005) The Effects of Imprisonment. Cullompton: Willan. Maguire, J. (Ed.), (2002) Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment. Chichester: Wiley. Ward, T. & Maruna,S. (2007) Rehabilitation: Beyond the risk paradigm. Oxford: Routledge. Scottish Government (2008) Scotland's Choice: Report of the Scottish Prisons Commission. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Towl, G. (Ed.), (2006). Psychological Research In Prisons. BPS Blackwell

Transferrable Skills

Transferable skills include: recognising the implications of government policy and the social and political context for the practice of forensic psychology; understanding the role of the psychologist as a consultant and project manager; using the scientist practitioner model to address new problems. The application of psychological theory to areas of the criminal justice system, developing an understanding of organisational issues, reconciling research with practical and organisational constraints.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (PT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 106.00
Independent Learning (PT) 106.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Seminars (PT) 6.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Assessment (PT) 20.00
Practicals (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% 4000 word report