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Tolling for the Luckless, the Abandoned and Forsaked: Therapeutic Jurisprudence and International Human Rights Law as Applied to Prisoners and Detainees by Forensic Psychologists

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 13 Issue: Part 2 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 231-243
Astrid Birgden; Michael L. Perlin
Date Published
September 2008
14 pages
This paper provides a nexus between human rights, therapeutic jurisprudence, and forensic psychology.
This paper proposes that human rights principles could add to the normative base of a therapeutic jurisprudence framework, and in-turn, therapeutic jurisprudence could assist forensic psychologists to actively address human rights. The work notes that there has been an explosion of interest in therapeutic jurisprudence as both a filter and lens for viewing the extent to which the legal system serves therapeutic or anti-therapeutic consequences; however, little attention has been paid to the impact of therapeutic jurisprudence on questions of international human rights law and the role of forensic psychologists. The paper seeks to provide an intersection between human rights, therapeutic jurisprudence, and forensic psychology. Additionally, it is discussed that human rights are based on legal, social, and moral rules, and that human rights literature generally considers legal rights but such policy statements do not provide principles to guide forensic psychologists in addressing moral or social rights. Therefore, it is noted that a framework to guide forensic psychologists is needed. In addition to a discussion of basic human rights issues, the work also provides background on therapeutic jurisprudence, providing a model of the structure of human rights for prisoners and information on the role of forensic psychologists. Figure and references