Social Work in the Justice System

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 491
  • Published : March 27, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Running head: SOCIAL WORK IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM 1

The Field of Forensic Social Work
It’s Function in the Criminal Justice System and the Populations Who Benefit Jennifer A. Dimaira
Seton Hall University

Abstract
This paper explores the many facets social work provides in collaboration with the criminal justice system escaping widespread notice as well as the roles played in the judicial court systems. This paper takes a look at the point and the many purposes of forensic social work. Covering their role in multidisciplinary mitigation teams and collaboration between social workers and lawyers in criminal defense also the type service social work practitioners provide to inmate populations; the active involvement in an inmate’s daily life both during their sentence as well as the service and assistance a forensic social worker will be providing following an inmate’s release and reintegration back into society. A field of social work not widely publicized or acknowledged by the majority of the American population, pointing out the lack of interest in the field by the Universities offering accredited social Work degree programs and the educational opportunities lost because of the lack of acknowledgement of this field of social work practice.

The Field of Forensic Social Work
It’s Function in the Criminal Justice System and the Populations Who Benefit
Forensic Social work is not a field widely known to students like myself. For those majoring in Social work in colleges and universities throughout the United States this particular field of social work practice is not really offered as often as other courses like helping skills or social policy. It’s an issue I see as becoming a problem in the near future because of the field and its functions. The educational opportunities presented in teaching forensic social work are in my opinion in my opinion. Its functions alone include policy and program development. Mediation, advocacy and arbitration, teaching, training and supervision as well as behavioral science research and analysis just to name a few. We the students are at a loss by a lack of acknowledgement of the field Forensic Social work and it not being an offered course taught within our curriculum is a travesty to the future of the social work profession and the population forensic social workers advocate for.

The objective of this paper is to bring to light a field in social work not widely publicized or acknowledged by a large majority of universities offering social work programs. Escaping widespread notice, a substantial number of social workers function in the space in which mental health concepts and the law form a gestalt says (Hughes & O’Neil.(1983). Most of those whose social work service fall under core areas that make up the field of forensic social work don’t even know it. Why is it then, that in a field in which the services provide so much to those with so little, with a tremendous base of knowledge utilizing a broad base of skill, skill spanning across many other fields not just in “basic” social work practices.

Parallel to the growing field of forensic psychiatry in the criminal justice system is the growing field of forensic social work. It’s development is dependent on that of forensic psychiatry; For this reason forensic social work it goes unobserved (Hughes, et. al., 1983).

I want to shed some much deserved light on this neglected field of service. It is a field of social work that needs to be preserved in its collaboration with the criminal justice system. Stewart Sinclair points out that “Forensic Social Work continues to work directly with patients and to maintain a vital link between the family and the institution.” (S. Sinclair, 2002 ,Sam Peckinpah’s forensic social work blues: will the tin star keep shining) Forensic Social work is not a field widely known to students such as myself. For those majoring in Social work in colleges and...
tracking img