M. Zhuravlova, V. Rudakova
The article is devoted to the analysis of difficulties arising in the work of expert psychologists when conducting research on persons serving sentences in prisons or in pre-trial detention centres (prisoners). The ways to overcome such difficulties are proposed in order to minimize the possible risks in the process of interaction between an expert psychologist and prisoners, which may cause significant psychological barriers during the process of their communication and create obstacles in the expert examination by psychologists with little experience in this very work.
The article outlines the psychological tools and steps that an expert psychologist can use in their work, such as:
1) informing the examinee about what exactly will happen during the
2) take into account the conditions of arrival (escort) of the prisoner for
3) using the open position of the expert
4) using interest to get the person under investigation motivated
5) taking into consideration the prisoner’s attempts to influence and form an
appropriate role position from the side of the psychologist
6) Using atypical diagnostic tools during the process of testing a prisoner’s person.
It is considered that the examination of persons with a certain criminal experience and who are in prison differs significantly from the examination of other examinees in terms of the conditions of diagnostic interview and testing. The negative position of a prisoner to the test, the conditions of arriving for the examination, and the reluctance to open up in the situation of the test can greatly complicate the work of a psychological expert.
The article highlights and identifies the issue that the decisive factor in conducting a psychological examination of prisoners is not the general training of the expert or the ability to use diagnostic tools, but the capacity to get the prisoner’s trust even in difficult conditions, to make the prisoner feel safe in communicating with the psychologist, and to maintain the sub-expert’s interest in undergoing the examination throughout the entire process of diagnostic interaction.
Key words: psychological examination, psychological research of prisoners, establishing psychological contact, safety of psychological research.