Any of us could probably be forced to confess to a crime we didn’t commit if the right technique was used.
That might sound like a pretty big call, and you’re probably scoffing right now reading it.
As if you’d confess to a rape, sodomy, and brutal bashing, if you were completely innocent?
Well, five innocent young boys in New York City confessed to just that in 1989.
Their story is back in the spotlight thanks to the Netflix series When They See Us.
But why did they confess? How were they coerced into thinking they did it?
It’s not as hard as you’d imagine.
Watch the trailer to When They See Us here. Post continues after video.
The thing is, if someone is innocent they often think that innocence will shine through – and even if they are coerced to confess – they’re of the impression it will be proven during the investigation or trial that they are not guilty.
They weren’t at the crime scene. That will be proven. Won’t it?
Not in America.
“They [innocent suspects] don’t understand that once they confess an investigation is over,” Diane Sivasubramaniam, an Associate Professor in Psychological Sciences at Swinburne University told Mamamia.
In Australia, someone can’t be convicted of a crime with a confession alone, there has to be corroborating evidence.
But in many jurisdictions in America, you can.
The way they get these confessions is where the real problems lie. In North America especially, it’s very common to use the Reid technique in interrogation rooms. This is how the Central Park five were made to confess to the rape and attack of Trisha Meili.