Confessions of the Innocent

2083 Words8 Pages
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a theoretical background on the causes, implications and consequences of false confessions made by seemingly innocent individuals, providing an overall discussion of the relevant literature surrounding the topic area. The biggest cause of wrongful conviction is the false assumption that no innocent individual would confess to a crime they did not commit. The underpinning for research into false confessions, showing it is possible for an innocent person to be made to believe that they have indeed committed a crime was first documented by Kassin and Wrightsman in 1985. Redlich (2009) further concluded that ‘false confessions are not an uncommon phenomenon in the criminal justice system but are unfortunately common’ (Redlich, 2009: 89).

This literature review chapter will look at the findings from this initial research and define what is meant by a false confession in relation to the two distinct types of coerced false confessions, examining the historical contingency of false confessions including the sequential processes and the contributing situational and dispositional factors that elicit false confessions. The remainder of the chapter will look more specifically at the police interrogation process, paying particular attention to interviewing techniques, police questioning and plea- bargaining and the implications this has on individual suspect’s well being and vulnerability, the subject of this dissertation. The significance of
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