Uses techniques from psychological science and legal theory to explore police interrogation in the United States Understanding Police Interrogation provides a single comprehensive source for understanding issues relating to police interrogation and confession. It sheds light on the range of factors that may influence the outcome of the interrogation of a suspect, which ones make it more likely that a person will confess, and which may also inadvertently lead to false confessions.
There is a significant psychological component to police interrogations, as interrogators may try to build rapport with the suspect, or trick them into thinking there is evidence against them that does not exist. Also important is the extent to which the interrogator is convinced of the suspect’s guilt, a factor that has clear ramifications for today’s debates over treatment of black suspects and other people of color in the criminal justice system.
The volume employs a totality of the circumstances approach, arguing that a number of integrated factors, such as the characteristics of the suspect, the characteristics of the interrogators, interrogation techniques and location, community perceptions of law enforcement, and expectations for jurors and judges, all contribute to the nature of interrogations and the outcomes and perceptions of the criminal justice system. The authors argue that by drawing on this approach we can better explain the likelihood of interrogation outcomes, including true and false confessions, and provide both scholars and practitioners with a greater understanding of best practices going forward.
William Douglas Woody is Professor of Psychological Sciences at University of Northern Colorado and the co-author of A History of Psychology: The Emergence of Science and Applications, Sixth Edition.
Krista D. Forrest is Professor of Psychology at University of Nebraska, Kearney, and has published articles in several core publications, including Psychology, Crime and Law and Behavioral Sciences and the Law.
Will serve as an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the psychology of police interrogation. . . . This book will appeal to a wide audience and likely encourage new lines of research.
~Iris Blandon-Gitlin, California State University, Fullerton
We need the police to help keep us safe. But every now and then things go terribly wrong. People confess to crimes they did not commit, and juries convict those innocent people. Why? This terrific volume helps us to understand. Woody and Forrest offer insights on how the police do their job, from both a basic science and a practical point of view. Readers can join these scholars as they think about how our justice system can fix these mistakes or prevent them before they happen. Anyone who cares about the fairness of our system of justice will find inspiration in this book.
~Elizabeth F. Loftus, Past President, Association for Psychological Science
For scholars interested in interrogation, this is an excellent resource.
Well written and well organized ... Professionals in law enforcement as well as students in the field of police science, criminal justice or forensics, will benefit greatly from this book.
~Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book Reviews