Interrogation Techniques Criminal Wrongful Convictions Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 3 Type: Essay Paper: #51072307 Related Topics: Law Enforcement Officers, Law Enforcement, False Confession, Criminal Justice Published January 24, 2023
Excerpt from Essay :

The Central Park Five case demonstrates some of the problems with police interrogation techniques, and also the policies and procedures applied to juveniles. In every case, law enforcement uses criminal interrogation as a primary means of data collection. However, the purpose of criminal interrogation is not necessarily as straightforward as it may seem. The use of criminal interrogations to elicit confessions often leads to the implementation of methods that are ineffective at gaining the truth, even while they may be highly effective at gaining wrongful convictions.

Intimidation, deception, and psychological abuse are some of the methods that may be used during police interrogations due in part to political and work-related pressures to gain confessions from a suspect at all costs (Kossowska & Grochowska, n.d.). In the 2012 Ken Burns documentary about the Central Park Five case, viewers have access to footage that directly captures the interrogation techniques the police used with the five teenagers. All of the teenagers can be considered vulnerable in this case, as all were minors as well as young men of color. As Duru (2004) points out, the Central Park Five case demonstrates the pervasiveness of racial and gender stereotypes in policing and criminal justice because of the myth of the bestial black man, (p. 1315). Race, class, and gender converged in the Central Park Five case, but ultimately it was the means by which police perform their interrogations that led to false confessions. In the Central Park Five case, the five young men of color were presumed guilty until they were eventually proven innocent and released after losing years of their lives.

Interrogation techniques used in the Central Park Five case were standard practice and proper in the sense that these are methods that are condoned based on a utilitarian ethical perspective in which the ends (any confession to the crime) justifies the means (intimidation, coercion, manipulation, and deceit) (Kossowska & Grochowska, n.d.). While lying, deceit, and intimidation may occasionally lead to actual confessions, much of the time and particularly with vulnerable populations like the five boys, such interrogation techniques can too…are fair is to record them in their entirety using digital devices (Leo & Richman, 2007). Another way to improve police interrogation techniques is to absolutely ban the use of deception and psychological coercion when working with minors.

Most importantly, I would mandate ongoing professional development and training for all law enforcement officers in accordance with emerging evidence on what works best. There is a clear need for balancing the need to close investigations with the need to achieve the goals of criminal justice. Research in psychology and sociology can help guide best practices in law enforcement to prevent false confessions and wrongful convictions. Ultimately, the culture of policing needs to change, whereby greater accountability is built into the system. Cognitive biases, prejudice, and the entrenchment of unethical practices in policing all caused the five young men falsely confess to a crime they did not commit. Until the organizational culture of law enforcement changes, interrogation techniques will remain as they are: hostile, antagonistic, and based on the counterintuitive and unconstitutional premise that individuals who seem…

Sources Used in Documents:


Burns, K., McMahon, D. & Burns, S. (2012). The Central Park Five. [Documentary].

Duru, N.J. (2004). The Central Park Five, the Scottsboro Boys, and the myth of the bestial black man.25 Cardozo L. Rev. 1315 (2003-2004) Kassin, S.M. (2005). On the psychology of confessions. American Psychologist 60(3): 215-228.

Kassin, S. M., Meissner, C. A., & Norwick, R. J. (2005). "I'd Know a False Confession if I Saw One": A Comparative Study of College Students and Police Investigators. Law and Human Behavior, 29(2), 211-227.

Kossowska, M. & Grochowska, K. (n.d.). Fact sheet: police interrogations. interrogations. Criminology and Public Policy 6(4): 791-798.

Leo, R.A. & Richman, K.D. (2007). Mandate the electronic recording of police interrogations.

Williamson, T. (2013). Investigative Interviewing. Routledge.

Cite this Document:

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