Although Criminal Psychology is not a well known field of study, it plays a valuable role in today’s society. Criminal Psychology, sometimes referred to as Forensic Psychology, is the study of the wills, thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals. This study goes deep into not only why someone commits a crime, but also their reactions after the crime, on the run or in court. Criminal Psychologists are often called into court to help the jury understand the mind of a criminal. Criminal Profiling is also a big part of Criminal Psychology. Criminal Psychologists and the work they perform, have aided in the understanding and capture of violent offenders, such as serial killers.
Criminal Profiling consists of using the information gathered from a crime scene to determine the identity of the perpetrator. While this does not directly give the profiler the name of the perpetrator, it is extremely helpful in narrowing down possible suspects. A profile based on a crime scene and other associated information, provides information such as the perpetrator’s age, sex, ethnic background, personality and possible physical features like disfigurements. Although extremely helpful, Criminal Psychology is not an exact science. The process of profiling generally includes the following seven steps:
1. Evaluation of the criminal act itself
2. Comprehensive evaluation of the specifics of the crime scene
3. Comprehensive analysis of the victim
4. Evaluation of the preliminary police reports
5. Evaluation of the medical examiners autopsy reports
6. Development of profile with critical offender characteristics
7. Investigative suggestions predicted on construction of the profile (McCrary 10
Robert Ressler, the Virginia-based criminologist generally recognized as the world's foremost authority on criminal profiling, believes serial killers are less likely to be born than created. In his experience, they are almost universally the product of physical and emotional abuse...