Please summarize the article "False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and implications for...


Please summarize the article "False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and implications for reform" from the link on top ^^^^^^^

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The article addresses the problems associated with false confessions and the steps that can be taken to decrease instances of false confessions.

To understand the psychology of confessions, it is important to analyze police interrogation processes and the factors that contribute to false testimonies. 

Most police interrogations follow the two-step "Reid technique." The first phase is an information-gathering interview, where suspects are asked a series of behavior-provoking questions, while the second phase consists of interrogations fueled by maximization or minimization tactics. There are problems associated with both phases, however.

First-phase interrogators often misread the behavioral cues of suspects. Meanwhile, maximization tactics, where police pressure the suspect by focusing on the certainty of his guilt, produces mixed results. Minimization tactics, where investigators minimize the crime and suspect's guilt, are similarly ineffective. In both cases, the susceptibility of juvenile and mentally-disabled suspects to such manipulative tactics raises the probability of false confessions.

Situational factors such as prolonged interrogations (along with sleep deprivation) and the presenting of false evidences may also raise the frequency of false confessions. A third situational risk, where police minimize the crime and explicitly promise leniency in sentencing, also increases the rate of false confessions.

False confessions are dangerous because they lead to biased assessments by forensic examiners, eyewitnesses, judges, and juries. Adding to the problem is the fact that it is almost impossible to determine without a shadow of doubt the authenticity of a confession.

Clearly, the above factors have inspired the process of reform. To date, at least 17 states and the Department of Justice have instituted requirements to record some or all interrogations. The recordings will increase police accountability and provide accurate means for judges and juries to assess the nature of confessions.

The author notes, however, that two other measures should be taken to decrease the rate of false confessions: admitting the use of expert testimony (without reservations and conditions) and ensuring that eyewitnesses and crime-lab technicians are "blind" to the absence or presence of a confession.