Forensic psychologists earn high salaries for applying their dual expertise in psychology and legal issues to the criminal and civil judicial process. The need for these professionals is increasing in Mississippi, and the state’s Department of Employment Security expects the number of forensic psychology positions to increase by 7% between 2010 and 2020. This agency expects this level of growth to generate an average of 45 jobs a year for forensic psychologists. Job growth is expected to be even higher in two of Mississippi’s major cities:
- Hattiesburg: 7%
- Gulfport-Biloxi: 1%
While forensic psychologists have many specialties, including analyzing the behavior of minors, serving as consultants for law enforcement, and serving as expert witnesses in custody cases, a number of these professionals work with inmates that are mentally ill.
Although the situation in the county jails in Mississippi is grim according to a joint report from the National Sheriff’s Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center, the Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) became a national model for prison reform.
Many of the seriously mentally ill inmates were housed in segregation in the super max Unit 32, which was recognized as a highly dangerous environment. After a study conducted by Dr. James Austin, nearly 80% of the inmates in the unit were reclassified to the general population in the unit instead of being segregated from the other prisoners. This change produced a striking drop in the number of incidents requiring the use of force and produced a higher level of care for the mentally ill inmates.
Salaries for Forensic Psychologists in Mississippi
Shown below are the salaries for forensic psychologists working for the state of Mississippi in 2015:
- Level II: $73,139 – $127,992
- Level I: $66,553 – $116,468
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) provides the salaries for forensic psychologists in the state as of 2015. Experienced forensic psychologists earned an average of $64,340, while those who were new to the profession averaged $35,800. The overall average salary for a forensic psychologist in Mississippi was $54,820 that year.
The MDES also provides the salaries of forensic psychologists in the major cities of Mississippi as of 2015:
Forensic Psychologist Salaries in Gulfport-Biloxi, Jackson, and Rural Areas of Mississippi
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a salary analysis by percentile for forensic psychologists in Mississippi’s two largest cities and several rural areas (2014):