Forensic psychologists are experts in both clinical psychology and jurisprudence. They serve as expert witnesses in cases ranging from custody disputes to determinations of mental competence for defendants. Some also provide clinical research and inmate counseling services within correctional facilities and mental health facilities.
North Dakota is one of the few states in which the state hospital houses more mentally ill individuals than the state’s prisons or jails, according to a joint report from the National Sheriff’s Association and the Treatment Advocacy Program in 2014.
The situation may soon get even more dire in North Dakota. With the increase in the population resulting from workers relocating to the area in response to the oil boom, a psychiatrist told KFYR-TV in 2012 that emergency room admissions for psychosis had doubled within the past year.
Dr. Lisa Peterson, the Clinical Director for the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, wrote extensively about mental illness among prisoners in the agency’s January 2015 newsletter. Data for the state’s prison facilities indicated that 41% of male inmates had a dual mental health and substance abuse diagnosis in 2014, while around 6% met the criteria for a severe and persistent mental illness. The statistics were even higher among female inmates.
Forensic psychologists help inmates at the James River Correctional Center’s Special Assistance Unit. The staff focuses on psychiatric and behavioral stabilization, so that the inmates can reintegrate and function in the general prison population.
Forensic Psychology Salaries in North Dakota
The North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network reported the salaries for forensic psychologists in the state for 2014. The average salary for a forensic psychologist in North Dakota was $65,560 that year. Experienced professionals earned an average salary of $79,690, while those entering the field earned an average of just $37,280.
This agency also provides the average salaries for forensic psychologists in the major cities of North Dakota as of 2014:
- Bismarck: $99,380
- Grand Forks: $66,960
- Fargo: $48,710
Forensic Psychologist Salaries in Fargo and Grand Forks
Shown below for comparative purposes is a detailed analysis of hourly wages and annual salaries for forensic psychologists in Fargo and Grand Forks as of 2014 (US Department of Labor):