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Criminal False Confessions

Green, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-4683-0793 (2023). Criminal False Confessions. In: Cross, N., Corteen, K., Steele, R. & McManus, M. (Eds.), Forensic Psychology, Crime and Policing Key Concepts and Practical Debates. (pp. 312-316). Bristol, UK: Policy Press.


There is a long-standing myth that innocent people do not falsely confess to crimes they did not commit. This myth has, however, been rebutted by prevalent research which reveals that 367 convicted individuals in the United States (US) have been exonerated by DNA evidence since 1989, of which 28 per cent involved false confessions (Lackey, 2020). As this chapter will demonstrate, police-induced or ‘confession-driven’ false confessions are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. An overview will be provided demonstrating the causes and different types of false confessions, before discussing interrogation techniques and its implications for producing erroneous and misleading testimony. This chapter concludes with recommendations for policing and the judicial system in order to improve the accuracy of confession evidence, and to reduce the likelihood of miscarriages of justice.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an chapter published in Forensic Psychology, Crime and Policing-Key Concepts and Practical Debates. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it are available online at:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
K Law
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of CRIMINAL FALSE CONFESSIONS_AcceptedVersion.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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