Coerced confessions have long been a staple of TV crime dramas, and have also been the subject of recent news stories. The complexity of such situations, however, is rarely explored even in the scientific literature.
Now in softcover, Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment remains one of the best syntheses of the scientific, legal, and ethical findings in this area, uncovering subtle yet powerful forces that often compromise the integrity of the criminal justice system. Editor G. Daniel Lassiter identifies the exposure of psychological coercion as an emerging frontier in legal psychology, citing its roots in the "third degree" approach of former times, and noting that its techniques carry little scientific validity. A team of psychologists, criminologists, and legal scholars asks—and goes a long way toward answering—important questions such as:
- What forms of psychological coercion are involved in interrogation?
- Are some people more susceptible to falsely confessing than others?
- What are the effects of psychological manipulation on innocent suspects?
- Are coercive tactics ever justified with minors?
- Can jurors recognize psychological coercion and unreliable confessions?
- Can entrapment techniques encourage people to commit crimes?
- What steps can law enforcement take to minimize coercion?
Throughout this progressive volume, readers will find important research-based ideas for educating the courts, changing policy, and implementing reform, from improving police interrogation skills to better methods of evaluating confession evidence. For the expert witness, legal consultant, or student of forensic psychology, this is material whose relevance will only increase with time.