In this issue

Message from the chair

Criminal Justice Section Chair of Division 18 introduces this issue of the Gavel.

By Sheila Brandt, PsyD

Sheila Brandt, PsyDColleagues, I greet you professionally energized and humbled to have been elected as your Chair for the Criminal Justice (CJ) Section of Division 18. Although it has been a while since I have served in division or section leadership, I feel especially privileged to serve now amidst the current culture of innovation and increased member involvement at the grass roots level.

Our section has a long history of providing career mentoring, collaborative scientific research and publication opportunities, and professional support for psychologists working in criminal justice-related public service settings. This has been particularly true for students and early career psychologists. In fact, many of the newly added section resources (e.g., The Gavel , the division-wide upcoming webinar series, and the CJ Section Facebook page) have arisen out of great ideas from our newest members. The energy and passion these early professionals bring to our section is valued and we must continue to provide training and mentorship opportunities for this group.

However, sustaining and adding depth to the resources provided by our section requires continued involvement, collaboration and mentoring from all CJ section (including former and potential) members. Our mid-career level members share their dynamic expertise and experiences in topics ranging from the challenges of maintaining up-to-date professional competence, advocating for psychology in the multi-disciplinary public service arena, and addressing career choice points. It is the active participation of mid-career psychologists that often provides the most information about how the section can practically serve our colleagues and the public sector.

As a section, we must continue to draw upon the expertise of our colleagues who have committed entire careers to contributing to the improvement of services, resources (e.g., Psychological Services ), and policy (e.g., mental health parity, prescription privileges) in public sector mental health. Some of these professionals can provide significant guidance in bridging the research –practice gap in public service and provide active consultation on mental health programs, public policy, and guidance for the courts. These seasoned voices are needed to add depth and critical context to the solid research, practice, and advocacy occurring within the section.

In addition to connecting individuals at these different career points, we need more diversity in our membership. We must never lose sight of how much is truly gained by all parties , when all attend the party. My challenge to each of you is to choose at least one individual activity by which you will share your time and talent to make a difference. There are many existing opportunities to do this, whether through leadership on an ad hoc committee, volunteering for a member spotlight, participation in a webinar, submitting an article for The Gavel or Psychological Services , or sharing the CJ Facebook page with other colleagues. Consider running for one of the CJ section offices. Regardless of where you are at in your career in the public sector, we are all committed to bettering the knowledge and application of psychological research in the criminal justice system.


Enjoy serving you,

Shelia Brandt, PsyD, L.P.