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"an excellent resource for high school guidance counselors or young students"~JC Angelcraft
on August 31, 2008
"Criminal Psychology and Personality Profiling" by Joan Esherick is a small, quick-read book (112 pgs) featuring small excerpts from actual case studies, fast facts, and elucidating definitions that demarcate the differences between careers that use psychology for purposes of solving crime, and helping in the justice process. This is an excellent resource for high school guidance counselors or young students interested in learning more about this career path.
In Chapter 1: The book addresses the questions, "What is Criminal Psychology" and "How Criminal Psychology works." It also helps the reader to understand the difference between criminal psychologists and profilers. The chapter also features an interesting section on real "Psychic" profilers whom have had success in helping police agencies fight crime.
Chapter II expounds on the many roles of the criminal psychologist e.g. crime scene analyst, detective, federal agent, probation officer, court advocate, educator, teacher, professor, trainer et al. The chapter discusses the various contexts where criminal psychology may be applied and renders general details as to the tasks performed by a professional in the field.
Chapter III discusses in more detail the duties and responsibilities of the criminal profiler. It gives the reader a taste of police training outlining what a good profiler should know such as "Key Murder Elements for profilers," "The Four Assumptions of the Profiler," "Traits of Organized, Disorganized, and Mixed Offenders."
Chapter IV relates the history of criminal profiling in fiction as well as non fiction contexts comparing today's conclusions on what constitutes a criminal profile with findings taken from the past. The chapter features an interesting story where the OSS--the Office of Strategic Services (America's first Spy agency)-- made an effort to profile Adolph Hitler at the zenith of his aggression during WWII. It also discusses the famous Boston Strangler Albert De Salvo a case where profiling failed to help.
Chapter V covers the generalities of crime specific profiling using for its purposes such examples as the Atlanta child murders. The chapter explains the definition of a serial killer and the kinds of crimes best suited for profiling.
Chapter VI is the final chapter of this intensive and informative read on the forensic science of criminal psychology and criminal profiling. This last chapter gives the reader a sober view of the many dangers faced by criminal psychologists and the limitations of the profession. It emphasizes the emotional cost that such a career can place on marriages and family and ends with a small list of famous cases that were never solved.