Highlights of Division 18 Criminal Justice Section
Early Career Professional Survey
Recently, the CJ Section of APA division 18 asked established researchers and practitioners in our field to share their views and advice concerning the transition from student to early career professional. Their responses are candid, insightful, and sure to resonate with all of us—regardless of our career stage!
Here are a couple of questions and answers from the survey:
Q. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your career path, and how have you handled/coped with that challenge?
A. Dr. Robert Morgan:
Juggling the demands of an academic career with a productive research lab, while maintaining an active clinical practice and directing a forensic psychology program. Effective time management and the ability to multitask without second guessing myself (i.e., I don’t read and re-read emails, simple writing tasks, etc) because time simply doesn’t allow it. I’ve also developed very good skills in compartmentalizing my work and developed a system with my family that really works to provide good life balance. I never miss a ball game, a recital, or other important events, and I make time for general family time, but my family also knows there are times outside of the typical 8-5 workday that I must work. We work around this, which was a necessity for me to maintain life balance. I’ve also become very good at recognizing who among my colleagues and students can handle which tasks, trusting them, and delegating work out to them.
Approximately 7 years ago I developed a professional business plan outlining my research and professional goals. It has been a wonderful guide to base decisions off of. There are so many attractive offers that come across one’s desk/computer, that you simply can’t do it all. A business plan is an invaluable tool for knowing what opportunities to accept and which are best to decline or delay.
Q. What was the most difficult thing about transitioning from graduate school into your field (e.g., research, academia, practice)? What advice do you have for navigating this transition?
A. Dr. Steve Norton:
Probably the most difficult thing was the movement from student, with limited decision making “authority” to the role of a staff member who at times needed to make decisions that had potential critical importance. I can still recall the first time responding to a crisis, when I realized everyone in the room was waiting for me to make the decision. My advice: recognize when a decision needs to be made, be willing to make that decision. Have resources to turn to if needed. Prepare yourself both knowledge-wise and emotionally to be ready to make decisions. Recognize your limits, and when you cannot make the call, be able to quickly mentally map out potential alternative routes. Most importantly, seek input from others, regardless of their professional identity (for example, correctional officers).
Another difficulty, although certainly less intense, is figuring out what to be called and how to be addressed by colleagues and clients. Advice: find what works best for you and what feels most comfortable. I encourage students (and new staff in general) to start with a more formal method of greeting (e.g. Dr or Mr/Ms, rather first names) with inmate clients. Then, if comfortable, move to less informal, if you wish. The reverse path is very difficult. I always maintained the formal level, though. Special thanks to our contributors: Dr. Robert Ax, Dr. Joel Dvoskin, Dr. Philip Magaletta, Dr. Robert Morgan, Dr. Steve Norton, and Dr. Jennifer Skeem!
Their full interviews can be viewed on our division Facebook page.
Division 18’s Psychological Services, Special Issue: Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology
Papers From the 2nd North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference
“Mental Health Needs of Federal Female Offenders “
By Derkzen, Dena M; Booth, Laura; Taylor, Kelly; McConnell, Ashley
“The Relationship Between Burnout and Coping in Adult and Young Offender Center Correctional Officers: An Exploratory Investigation “
By Gould, Drew D; Watson, Shelley L.; Price, Stephanie R.; Valliant, Paul M.
“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Programs and the Sequential Intercept Model: Case Examples in National Dissemination of Intervention for Justice-InvolvedVeterans”
By Blue-Howells, Jessica H.; Clark, Sean C.; van den Berk-Clark, Carissa; McGuire, James F.
“Prevalence and Nature of Criminal Offending in a National Sample of Veterans in VA Substance Use Treatment Prior to the OEF/OIF Conflicts”
By Weaver, Christopher M.; Trafton, Jodie A.; Kimerling, Rachel; Timko, Christine; Moos, Rudolf
“Enhancing Services Response to Crisis Incidents Involving Veterans: A Role for Law Enforcement and Mental Health Collaboration"
By Weaver, Christopher M.; Joseph, David; Dongon, Shara N.; Fairweather, Amy; Ruzek, Josef
“Helping Veterans With Mental Illness Overcome Civil Legal Issues: Collaboration Between a Veterans Affairs Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center and a Nonprofit Legal Center “
By Wong, Catherine F.; Tsai, Jack; Klee, Anne; Udell, Howard R.; Harkness, Laurie; Middleton, Margaret.
“Veterans Aging in Place Behind Bars: A Structured Living Program That Works “
By Kopera-Frye, Karen; Harrison, Mary T.; Iribarne, Josette; Dampsey, Elizabeth; Adams, Michelle; Grabreck, Tammy; McMullen, Tara; Peak, Kenneth; Harrison, William O.
“Potential mediators between child abuse and both violence and victimization in juvenile offenders”
By Day, David M.; Hart, Trevor A.; Wanklyn, Sonya G.; McCay, Elizabeth; Macpherson, Alison; Burnier, Nathalie
“Intimate Partner Violence Intervention for High-Risk Offenders “
By Connors, Angela D.; Mills, Jeremy F.; Gray, Andrew
“The Federal Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA): A Construction and Validation Study”
By Lowenkamp, Christopher T.; Johnson, James L.; Holsinger, Alexander M.; VanBenschoten, Scott W; Robinson, Charles
“An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale in Male Prison Inmates”
By Smith, Phillip N; Wolford, Caitlin; Mandracchia, Jon Jahn, Danielle R.
“Medication Adherence Among Female Inmates with Bipolar Disorder: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial”
By Ehret, Megan J.; Shelton, Deborah; Barta, William; Trestman, Robert; Maruca, Annette; Kamath, Jayesh; Golay, Leslie
“Predictors of Burnout Among Correctional Mental Health Professionals “ By Gallavan, Deanna B.; Newman, Judy L.
“The MMPI-2 L Scale, Reporting Uncommon Virtue, and Predicting Police Performance”
By Weiss, Peter A.; Vivian, James E.; Weiss, William U.; Davis, Robert R.; Rostow, Cary D.