Saturday, December 14, 2019

Evidence based social policy advocacy - False confessions

The third largest factor in wrongful convictions in the 367 people exonerated by DNA evidence by the Innocence project was false confessions with  with 28% of the cases, that’s over ¼ or 1:4.

Of these false confessions

49% were by people 21 years old or younger at the time of arrest.
33% were under 18.
10% of false confessions were by people with mental health or mental capacity issues.

Plea bargaining and threats of draconian sentences with prolonged interrogation techniques often result in a false confession just to end the intimidation and harassment.

Have you ever been arrested, taken in to custody, and subjected to intimidation and coercive techniques? Has anyone you love and care about?

To what extent does this occur more often to poor people who don’t have access to a lawyer?

For more click here.

What can you do about it?

Check with your local police department to find out what kind of interrogation policies and procedures they use in interviewing suspects and witnesses.

Check with your district attorney's office to find out what kind of confessions they use use in their prosecutions.

Check with your local bar association, defense attornies section, to find out what their experience has been with false confessions.

Encourage everyone you know not to speak with police without an attorney to represent you.

Unitarian Univeralists convenant together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Does your congregation have a social justice committee to monitor criminal justice practices in your congregation's geographical area? Does your congregation have any policy and procedures for how to assist people who come into contact with the criminal justice system?

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