Paul Tappan Award Winner Keynote Address: The Justice Gap and the Promise of Criminological Research
15 Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society 1 (2014)
38 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2014 Last revised: 11 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2014
This essay discusses the justice gap in the criminal justice system -- the difference between the promise of justice inherent in our formally democratic, legal institutions and the actual delivery of justice within these institutions. The author argues that criminologists are in a unique position to expose and study the justice gap in the American legal system by bringing methodologically rigorous empirical research skills and data-driven knowledge to bear on these problems. The essay details how empirical research has been instrumental in developing best practices to prevent wrongful convictions by improving the criminal justice system’s reliability. The author describes several justice gaps in the American criminal justice system and traces the history of empirical scholarship in American police interrogation, false confessions, and wrongful convictions over the last two decades.
Keywords: justice, criminology, criminal law, criminal procedure, police interrogation, false confession, wrongful conviction
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