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Analysing A Psychological Scientific Paper On Crime

794 words - 4 pages

This article from the New York Times newspaper points out one of the most relevant and controversial topics in the field of Psychology in the Justice System: the confessions, their relevance and impact as an important (sometimes taken as irrefutable) proof of evidence in a trial and the questionable reliability that they have under certain circumstances. It shows how the suspect gave the confession after 12 hours of interrogation and later on retracted part of it, alleging ‘so much pressure’ sustained during such a long period of time. How a false confession could have been proved or unproved easily with a proper videotape of the whole interrogation and confession processes, but how only the confession was recorded (which is the standard practice in New York). This fact gave and gives room for doubts about the police techniques and the possible over-pressure and coercion during the unreasonably long interview, and makes difficult to demonstrate the truth of the confession or the suspicions about the irregular techniques. The article also comments how the implementation of videotaping in interrogations is being slow in many departments and how some detectives object this measure saying it is expensive, impractical and risky (as it could be taken as a tool for criminals).

On the one hand, the goal of an interrogation or interpellation is to extract important information aiming to find the culprit of the specific fault, and as it is an anti-natural and un-evolutionary behaviour of human beings to act against their own well-being and survival instinct, it would definitely be really difficult to obtain any evidence without a certain amount of persuasion. Then, it becomes obvious that no police interrogation is completely free of coercion, nor will it ever be. The real issue is about the extent and nature of the manipulation and persuasion used and the ethical matter about how much should be allowed in any jurisdiction. Interrogating a person 12 hours in a row should not be allowed anywhere under any circumstance (high likelihood of confession due to the mental exhaustion, Leo 1996a), especially under the stressful and anxiety-generating environment where the suspects find themselves. It could be that you are prosecuting a criminal and trying to find the truth but it could also be that you are frightening and manipulating the shocked mind of a person that has just suffered a trauma for losing a beloved relative, and...

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