Forensic psychologists are highly compensated for their expertise in psychology and jurisprudence. The number of positions for these professionals in Missouri is expected to increase by 5.01% on average statewide between 2012 and 2022 according to the state’s Economic Research and Information Center. The rate of increase is projected to be substantially higher for certain regions in Missouri:
- Northeast: 75%
- Ozark: 29%
In addition to their roles as consultants for law enforcement and as expert witnesses in domestic and child custody cases, forensic psychologists often work closely with mentally ill inmates. Missouri is home to a number of these professionals, because Springfield is home to a federal mental health prison hospital that houses nearly 1,200 inmates as of 2015.
Due to cutbacks in outpatient mental health funding, Missouri’s prisons are home to a number of mentally ill individuals. According to a joint 2014 report conducted by the National Sheriff’s Association and the Treatment Advocacy Project, the state prisons in Bonne Terre and Farmington probably each have more seriously mentally ill individuals than the state hospital in Fulton. The Missouri Department of Corrections estimated that 20% of the state’s prison population was mentally ill in 2006—a substantial increase since 1997.
The situation is even worse in Missouri’s jails. In 2007, at least 30% of the inmates in Boone County were said to be mentally ill, while a jail official in Greene County told KY3 News in 2011 that officials were seeing increasingly numbers of individuals with chronic mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Missouri’s Department of Corrections policy allows personnel to administer medication on a nonemergency involuntary basis in cases of clinical necessity even if there is no immediate danger. Thus, mental health professionals can help inmates who are gravely disabled, could pose a likelihood of harm to themselves or others if not treated, and display symptoms of severe mental illness.
Salaries for Forensic Psychologists Throughout Missouri
The state of Missouri paid the following salary ranges for forensic psychologists in 2015:
- Level II: $55,416 – $77,556
- Level I: $49,128 – $71,208
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, forensic psychologists in the state earned an average salary of $66,859. Those with experience averaged $78,176 a year, while forensic psychologists who were new to the profession earned an average of $44,225.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for forensic psychologists throughout Missouri as of 2014: