Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations

37 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2009 Last revised: 27 Apr 2010

Saul M. Kassin

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Steven A. Drizin

Northwestern University - School of Law, Bluhm Legal Clinic; Northwestern University - Center on Wrongful Convictions

Thomas Grisso

University of Massachusetts Worcester - University of Massachusetts Medical School

Gisli H. Gudjonsson

King's College London

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Allison D. Redlich

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice

Date Written: July 15, 2009

Abstract

Recent DNA exonerations have shed light on the problem that people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit. Drawing on police practices, laws concerning the admissibility of confession evidence, core principles of psychology, and forensic studies involving multiple methodologies, this White Paper summarizes what is known about police-induced confessions. In this review, we identify suspect characteristics (e.g., adolescence; intellectual disability; mental illness; and certain personality traits), interrogation tactics (e.g., excessive interrogation time; presentations of false evidence; and minimization), and the phenomenology of innocence (e.g., the tendency to waive Miranda rights) that influence confessions as well as their effects on judges and juries. This article concludes with a strong recommendation for the mandatory electronic recording of interrogations and considers other possibilities for the reform of interrogation practices and the protection of vulnerable suspect populations.

Keywords: police interviews, interrogations, false confessions

Suggested Citation

Kassin, Saul M. and Drizin, Steven A. and Grisso, Thomas and Gudjonsson, Gisli H. and Leo, Richard A. and Redlich, Allison D., Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations (July 15, 2009). Law and Human Behavior, 2009; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2010-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1483878

Saul M. Kassin (Contact Author)

John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Steven A. Drizin

Northwestern University - School of Law, Bluhm Legal Clinic ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8576 (Phone)

Northwestern University - Center on Wrongful Convictions

375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, CA 60611
United States

Thomas Grisso

University of Massachusetts Worcester - University of Massachusetts Medical School ( email )

55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
United States

Gisli H. Gudjonsson

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Allison D. Redlich

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice ( email )

Draper 219
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
United States
518/442-5210 (Phone)

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