Forensic Social Work Practice In Criminal Justice

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Of all the fields discussed in chapter 8, the one that intrigued me the most was the social work practice in Criminal Justice. This is an area known as forensic social work, which can be further defined as “the practice of social work in areas relating to the law and legal systems, including the criminal and civil legal systems” (Berg-Weger, 232). The number of the correctional population has been decreasing overall, but there’s still a staggering amount, who is made up mostly of people of color and those from a lower class. Social workers are important in correctional settings for many reasons including advocacy and cultural competence. The story for this section comes from Herbert Bernsen, who has an MSW and is employed at St. Louis County…show more content…
It is surprising for me to hear his side of the story, especially after what you see on TV and hear about in the news, with all inmates wanting to be tough and fight all the time. But Bernsen says “most inmates follow the rules because they want to live in a safe and secure environment” (Berg-Weger, 234). He then goes on to say that they “prefer to live in an environment in which the officer is the leader, not the toughest inmate” (Berg-Weger, 234). This just goes to show that even some inmates need help once in a while too. In the correctional settings, social workers carry out assessments and figure out what emotional stated the person is in, and work with them to organize any treatment and education the inmate may need. Bernson also mentions that social workers keep up with the inmates’ progress. The social workers help them with things like finding jobs and integrating back into society. Something else I think is important is the high rate of people with mental illness who are in jail because they have nowhere else to go, even though they shouldn’t be

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