Ethical and Professional Conflicts in Correctional Psychology

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Ethical and Professional Conflicts in Correctional Psychology


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The evaluation that is requested by the Warden should essentially be completed. However, there are key aspects of the evaluation that ought to be implemented and one of these is making the inmate aware of the reason why the evaluation is to be conducted. The application of a clinical interview would essentially facilitate the evaluation. According to professional ethics, conducting an evaluation without the consent or knowledge of the inmate would essentially be the deprivation of the right of the inmate. Conducting the evaluation being against ethical standards and principles in the profession is not allowed. Dr. R should therefore conduct the evaluation in the knowledge of Inmate X, an aspect that would ensure that there is no violation of professional ethics. Conducting the evaluation should also proceed because it would help establish whether the release of Inmate X on parole would in any way be a source of threat to the members of the general public. Ensuring that the release of the inmate does not in way pose a threat to the members of the general public would be of great value and significance as far as the duty and professional expectations as a psychologist. Therefore, proceeding on with the evaluation is essential in ensuring that the parole process does not lead to the release of a threat to the safety of the members of the general public. However, there are key guidelines and procedures that ought to be adhered to in conducting the evaluation (Melchert, 2011).

The answer would not change even if the psychologist is not a member of the APA. This is because, the ethics of the professions are the guiding factor and principle with regards to what should essentially be done in proceeding with the evaluation. The fact that conducting the evaluation without the evaluation without the consent and knowledge of Inmate X is in violation of their right is not an APA standard but a question of being principled and ethical. The fact that there was no emergency in the case means that a covert evaluation is not allowed. Therefore, any psychologist that believes in the right to an inmate being informed, should not proceed with the evaluation without ensuring that that the inmate knows why they are being evaluated (Abeles, 2006).

There are a wide range of ethical as well as multicultural issues that the psychologist should consider if the inmate in Vignette were a homosexual, African American male raised in an adoptive single parent. Ensuring that the evaluation takes delves into the likelihood of their behavior resulting from being raised by a single parent is one of the issue that the psychologist should consider. The psychologist should understand that there are aspect of cultural diversity that contribute to the behavior of the convict and should ensure that the convict does not allow their deficiencies to contribute towards unlawful behavior. A key ethical issue that the psychologist should consider and adhere to is ensure that in conducting the evaluation, there in the questions asked, there are no aspects of racial or ethnic bias or any form of prejudice against the inmate. This would play a key role in ensuring that the evaluation is effective and accurate in providing reliable and viable results to help inform the judgement and decisions regarding the inmate (Melchert, 2011).


Abeles, N. (2006). Ethical Conflicts in Psychology (Book). Ethics & Behavior, 6(1), 71-74. doi:10.1207/s15327019eb0601_5

Melchert, T. P. (2011). Ethical Foundations of Professional Psychology. Foundations of Professional Psychology, 77-98. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-385079-9.00006-0

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