Criminal Justice column

The author discusses a new ad-hoc committee committed to further developing the Division 18 Criminal Justice section, and the recognition of deserving members through division awards

By Femina P. Varghese, PhD

First, I want to thank the members of the Criminal Justice section for their readiness to serve the section and volunteer. Last fall, I sent out an email asking for students and early career professionals interested in serving this section to contact me and the secretary/treasurer Jon Mandracchia. I was very happy with the response I received. From those that responded, I was able to form an ad-hoc committee that is committed to developing the section which includes: Andrea Tobias, Abigail Tucker, Erica Fitzgerald, Jeff Haun, Lauren Lussier, Melody Brown, Nicole Gross, Sarah Manchak, Shannon Griswold, and La Nita Elias. In addition, among the responses I received from students, Nicole Gross was also chosen as the student representative for the criminal justice section.

I am proud of what the committee has thus far accomplished. Currently Melody Brown is developing a Facebook page for the section which will soon be sent out to the section Listserv. The Facebook will also be linked to the new Division 18 website.

In addition, Shannon Griswold recently developed an emblem specifically for the criminal justice section that will be displayed on our Facebook page

criminal-justice-logoIn our efforts to better serve our members, Abigail Tucker will be sending out an electronic survey through the Criminal Justice section Listserv to better understand the needs of our section members. The survey is very brief and should take less than 5 minutes to complete. We encourage all section members to respond to the survey as your opinions are valuable and can help us better serve you.

We are also actively working to reach correctional psychologists, undergraduates, practicum students, as well as interns. In addition, in trying to make our section more attractive to early career professionals, we are also planning to reach out to mid-career and senior psychologists to give advice to early career psychologists that might help then in their career development. We believe the advice given by professionals further along in their career will be invaluable to newer professionals in our field.

As the committee is working to increase membership, as a member, please also take advantage of opportunities to encourage others to join. As I announced in the last newsletter, I want to encourage the "E1" initiative, short for "each one reach one." Therefore, we do want to encourage each member to reach at least one person to join the section. Our section has much to offer, including the possibility for national recognition.

One way to foster recognition of members is through awards. We are asking for nominations for the following Criminal Justice section awards. Self-nominations are also welcome. There are four awards this year, which include Outstanding Psychology Student Award, Outstanding Dissertation Award, Early Career Achievement Award, and Outstanding Clinician Award. The awards will be presented at the Criminal Justice section business meeting at the APA 2012 Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. in August 2012. We believe that psychologists and students who take an active role in furthering the field through research and clinical work should be recognized for their work. The nominations for the awards are open to all APA Members and Affiliates. However, those nominated must be members of Criminal Justice section Division 18 by the time the award is presented. You do not have to be present to win the award.

Please see below for details on the call for nominations and directions for submitting nominations. We look forward to hearing from you, and encourage you to pass this along to your colleagues and students!

Outstanding Psychology Student Award

This award is open to students at any stage of their graduate career (i.e. practicum students, psychology interns, and postdoctoral fellows). Nominees must have clinical and/or research experience with the criminal justice population. In addition to these experiences, nominees must have made accomplishments during his/her training that exceed expectations of his/her developmental level.

Outstanding Dissertation Award

The Outstanding Dissertation Award will be given to a person who has completed (defended) their dissertation within the last 18 months prior to the award deadline (June 15, 2012). The focus of the dissertation research should be related to the criminal justice population. Trainees who implemented any type of research (qualitative, quantitative, or theoretical) are encouraged to apply. In addition to the application requirements listed below, individuals nominated for this award also need to submit: a copy of the dissertation in either Word or PDF format; and a letter of support from the dissertation advisor. The dissertation advisor does not have to be the person to nominate the trainee. The letter of support from the dissertation advisor should include: acknowledgement that the student was nominated for the award; confirmation of the date of the dissertation defense; and a brief statement of his/her support or endorsement for the student being nominated for the award.

Early Career Achievement Award

This award is open to individuals who earned their doctoral degree in psychology within the last seven years. Nominees will have provided services to a criminal justice population in their career through clinical work and/or research. Overall, nominees will demonstrate, through their professional work, that they are dedicated to providing and improving services for those involved in the criminal justice system.

Outstanding Clinician Award

This award will be given to a psychologist who primarily provides direct clinical services to a criminal justice population and has done an outstanding job. The Awards Committee will look favorably upon those who have implemented and applied evidence based treatments to a criminal justice population; the committee is particularly interested in hearing about new and inventive clinical applications to a criminal justice population. The committee will also look favorably upon those psychologists who have worked collaboratively with others in their workplace to promote the application of appropriate clinical interventions. This award may be given to a psychologist with any number of years of experience.

Nominations should include a:

  • A current CV of the nominee (within the last year)

  • A letter of nomination (one-two pages in length) describing why this nominee should be considered for the award (be sure to specify which award for whom you are nominating the individual)

  • For self-nominations, a letter of recommendation is required, as well as a one-two page narrative describing why you believe you should be considered for the award. 

  •  For the Dissertation Award, as mentioned earlier, you must also submit a copy of the dissertation, as well as a letter of support from the dissertation advisor which includes: acknowledgement that the student was nominated for the award; confirmation of the date of the dissertation defense; and a brief statement of his/her support or endorsement for the student being nominated for the award.

Please submit your nominations through email, no later than June 15, 2012 to Lauren Lussier, PsyD (Criminal Justice section Awards Committee Chair).

As I stated in my last article, if there is anyone interested in becoming more involved in the section, feel free to contact me Femina P. Varghese, PhD. (Criminal Justice section Chair) I look forward to hearing from you.