Criminal Justice

This section launched a student representative initiative in which students from programs across the United States and Canada are being recruited to serve as the Divi. 18 liaison to their programs

By Dawn Cisewski, PsyD

I am happy to report that the Criminal Justice Section of Division 18 was well represented at the APA Conference in San Diego, CA this past August. Thank you for all those that participated by attending and/or presenting your work. As psychologists in the criminal justice system, we need to promote all the great work that we do. Great job everyone. I am eager to see the new program for the 2011 convention and our contribution to it. I am sure it will be stellar as always.

As you may remember, the CJ section of Division 18 recruited members for an Ad-hoc Membership Committee, with a particular focus of recruiting early career and student members. This committee, chaired by Dr. Femina Varghese, is doing an outstanding job of recruiting new members to our division. The committee just launched a student representative initiative, in which students from programs across the United States and Canada are being recruited to serve as the Division 18 liaison to their programs. This is an excellent and very innovative initiative, and I thank Dr. Varghese and the rest of the committee for all their hard work. As such, Dr. Varghese and the committee members were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Criminal Justice Section at the 2010 APA Convention for their commitment and service. Please join me again in thanking them and recognizing their hard work.

  • Chair:  Femina Varghese, PhD

  • Shannon Griswold, MA

  • Jay Hamm, MA

  • Jeffrey Haun, PsyD, LP

  • Caron Heigel, MA

  • Lauren Lussier, PsyD

  • Terri Mansour Moriarty, MA

  • Kate Morris, MS

  • Chris Romani, BA

Please help support them in any way that you can. If you have any suggestions for recruitment of early career and student members, please email Dr. Varghese.

This year was also the first year for our Criminal Justice Early Career Achievement Award - This Award is not listed with the other awards and Student Award. Please join me in congratulating the following recipients.

  • Student Award:  Caron P. Heigel, MA
    Caron is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Program at George Mason University. She has devoted her studies and emerging career to improve the lives of high risk individuals who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. Caron has already presented and published her work on inmate optimism, as well as co-authored an article examining the links between moral emotions and aggression. Caron also received additional training at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, resulting in the director establishing permanent internship and externships at the national headquarters. We can easily look at Caron and say this is what public service psychology is all about.

  • Early Career Achievement Award:  Sarah Abigail Tucker, PsyD
    Dr. Tucker received her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has provided clinical assessments and treatment in settings directly related to the criminal justice field, as well as detention settings, since completing her internship in 2006. Since early 2009, she has served as the program manager of the Justice, Accountability, and Recovery Program at Community Reach Center, a community mental health center in the Denver metropolitan area, where she oversees the clinical treatment of all juvenile and adult Community Reach consumers who are involved in the criminal justice system.

    She is recognized as a leader among the justice community in Colorado and serves on several task forces and advisory boards on issues related to Mental Health and Criminal Justice. Dr. Tucker was successful in addressing the Colorado Legislature regarding the need for inmates who have been diagnosed with mental illness to have immediate access to services upon release from custody, resulting in a new law that was passed mandating that Colorado Medicaid benefits for qualifying inmates be suspended rather than cancelled during their incarceration. Dr. Tucker is also responsible for the supervision and oversight of the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for Adams County, Colorado. She serves as an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Family Violence, and has several publications in the area of Psychology and Criminal Justice. Additionally, she has published articles on the psychometric properties of a stress survey for law enforcement officers and best practice responses following critical incidents in law enforcement. In conclusion, Dr. Tucker is an exceptional example of an Early Career Psychologist who is working to shape and improve the quality of service delivery systems and treatment for all people involved in the criminal justice system.

As we congratulate Ms. Heigel and Dr. Tucker, I want to encourage you to start thinking about individuals you would like to nominate for these awards for this coming year. Details of nomination process will be forthcoming.

Lastly, I want to encourage members to start thinking about individuals to nominate to the Chair and Secretary/Treasurer positions of the CJ section. These terms, as they stand now, are two year terms. This has been a wonderful experience, and I highly encourage members to nominate individuals or himself/herself to serve in this exciting role. Details of the nomination and election procedures will be placed on the listserv at a later date.

I wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season and a prosperous New Year.