Forensic psychologists combine a rigorous knowledge of psychology with expertise in legal issues concerning both criminal and civil matters. These professionals work with civil cases, consulting with employers about the safety of their employees and serve as expert witnesses providing impartial expertise on family matters such as post-divorce custody. Many forensic psychologists also work within the legal system, helping law enforcement officers with criminal investigations, assessing mentally ill inmates and serving as expert witnesses.
In recent years, lawmakers have been trying to get a clear picture of the extent of mental health issues in North Carolina’s prisons and jails to better address the treatment needs of mentally ill inmates. However, this is a difficult task, since jails don’t uniformly track mental illness among their inmates according to Eddie Caldwell, the general counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association who was quoted in WUNC in 2014. A joint report by the National Sheriff’s Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center estimated the Mecklenburg County Jail and the Wake County Jail combined probably have at least as many mental mentally ill individuals as the state mental hospital.
The state Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice estimated that there were about 4,600 mentally ill inmates under its care in 2014. The Division is starting to consolidate mental health services in some locations instead of having them spread throughout the system’s 56 facilities, thus making it easier for forensic psychologists to provide the care these inmates need.
Salaries for Forensic Psychologists in North Carolina
A forensic psychologist for the state of North Carolina earned from $48,195 to $79,204 a year in 2015.
The North Carolina Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) provides the range of salaries that forensic psychologists earned in the state during 2015. Professionals with experience earned an average of $76,710, while the median salary for forensic psychologists in North Carolina was $55,100. Those just entering the workforce earned an average of $41,640 a year.
LEAD also provides the salaries for forensic psychologists in the major metropolitan areas of North Carolina in 2015:
Forensic Psychologist Salaries Throughout North Carolina
Shown below for comparative purposes are forensic psychologist salaries throughout North Carolina’s major metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014 salary survey: