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Why Do People Wrongfully Confess To Crimes? - UK Essays, False confessions essay

False confessions essay

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Just Confessions Essay ...article for Scientific American Mind, “True Crimes, False Confessions,” argue that “society ...

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Yet the theoretical question may perhaps demand no later than tomorrow a practical answer, when perhaps again a weak mind shall work itself into an untrue confession and the community again rely thereon satisfied, hypnotised by the spell of the dangerous belief that " murder will out ." The history of crime in Chicago has shown sufficiently that murder will not " out ." It is important that the court, instead of bringing out the guilty thought, shall not bring it " in " into an innocent consciousness...

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EN: One of the most prominent methods used by police and other law enforcement agencies for interrogating suspects is The Reid Technique, a very aggressive interrogation method linked to the production of false confessions. You’ve been very critical of the Reid technique, for its lack of grounding in behavioral science research. Can you describe the Reid technique and your critique of it?

Suspects with low IQs are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation: They are less likely to understand the charges against them and the consequences of professing guilt. One of the suspects in the Central Park attack had an IQ of 87; another was aged 16 with a second-grade reading level.

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Mentally capable adults also give false confessions due to a variety of factors like the length of interrogation, exhaustion or a belief that they can be released after confessing and prove their innocence later.

David K. Shipler is the author of the forthcoming “Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America,” from which this article is adapted.

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Sometimes people falsely confess because they can't withstand the police questioning. They falsely confess because, at some point, they make the decision that admitting guilt will benefit them in that moment more than maintaining their innocence. For many people, police interrogations are a terrifying experience that can go on for hours, with no end in sight. Some people admit guilt simply to end the grueling interrogation experience. In response to a barrage of relentless techniques specifically designed to break people down, some people just give up, and hope the truth will later be revealed.

But could that be true? Do innocent people ever confess–and why?  It might seem unreasonable to believe that an innocent person would confess to a crime that he or she didn’t commit, but there are plenty of cases in which people did just that.

While voluntary false confessions are given with no outside influences, the other two types are usually coerced by external pressure.

What did you learn about how and why false confessions occur?
Do you think this is a problem- why or why not?
Do you agree or disagree with the Innocence Project’s proposed solutions to this problem?

False confession and self-incriminating admittance made to the police by innocent suspects which is clearly against their self- interest is usually a combination of factors which are associated with various circumstances and nature of the custodial interrogation, the suspects' personality factors and psychological vulnerabilities. What is more there are serious consequence that follow from confession and this also applies to the case of false confession. The study from the United States shows that around half of the confessions which eventually were established to be false led to criminal conviction (Howitt, 2006).

Calling Memory Into Question: A look at False Memory Syndrome Memory is the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences. A repressed memory is one that is retained in the subconscious mind, where one is not aware of it but where it can ...


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false confessions essay
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