COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the United States incarcerates the largest number of people in the world, four times the global average. With a staggering number of prisoners and criminal justice caseloads, mental behavioral health professionals are seeking higher education to expand their skill sets.
University of the Rockies, a graduate school specializing in social and behavioral sciences, is leading the nation with a forensic/correctional psychology concentration. It is available to students who pursue the clinical specialization within the university's doctorate degree program in psychology.
Now in its second year, the program is spearheaded by Dr. David Stephens, University of the Rockies dean of the School of Professional Psychology. Previously he was regional director of mental health for Correctional Healthcare Management and chief of Behavioral Health Services for the Colorado Department of Corrections.
According to Dr. Stephens, forensic psychologists perform a wide range of tasks in the criminal justice system, such as evaluating competence to stand trial, assessing violent behavior risks, and determining if psychological factors contributed to the commission of a crime. The concentration prepares students for working at the intersection of psychology and the justice system, in jails and prisons.
"The correctional and forensic psychology fields have experienced tremendous growth over the last few years," said Dr. Stephens. "Increasingly, behavioral health professionals are interested in working with court ordered individuals, as well as victims, who have active or past involvement with the criminal justice system. We're among the nation's first graduate universities to meet marketplace demand. Students pursuing the forensics/correctional concentration receive supervised, hands-on training in this highly specialized practice."
While pop culture's perception of the profession may be fueled by exciting depictions in movies and television series, forensics/correctional psychologists play a vital, critical role in the real world of law and order.
About Dr. Stephens
Dr. Stephens is the dean of the School of Professional Psychology at University of the Rockies. He has served as the regional director of mental health for Correctional Healthcare Management and as the chief of Behavioral Health Services for the Colorado Department of Corrections. Dr. Stephens has developed and overseen suicide prevention programs in numerous correctional facilities and has presented on suicide prevention at national conferences.
About University of the Rockies
University of the Rockies is an advanced graduate institution for tomorrow's thought leaders. The University provides an intimate and dynamic learning environment, offering highly specialized master's and doctoral degree programs in the social and behavioral sciences, access to industry experts, campus clinical programs for practical experience, and research and publishing opportunities. University of the Rockies is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association (www.ncahlc.org). Small by design, University of the Rockies classes are presented in a progressive online format, at its Colorado Springs, Colorado, campus and at its Denver instructional site. For more information, please visit www.rockies.edu or call Shari Winet Rodriguez, vice president of Public Relations, at 866.621.0124 x2513.
Contact: Shari Winet Rodriguez, Vice President of Public Relations
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SOURCE University of the Rockies