The Use and Misuse of Science in the Justice System

KassinThe psychological factors that play into the criminal justice system, from police interrogations to jury verdicts and sentencing decisions, were highlighted in a cross-cutting theme program at the APS Annual Convention in New York City. The session included a look at myths and facts about psychopathic traits in children, flawed methods used to understand human lie detection, and false confessions that often trump factual evidence. Among the cross-disciplinary group of speakers were APS Fellow Saul Kassin, (Williams College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and forensic psychologist John Edens (Texas A&M University). The theme program was capped by a screening of The Central Park Five, a documentary film based on a book of the same title by Sarah Burns. Following the screening, Burns discussed the legacy of the landmark case with Kassin and with Yusef Salaam, one of the five men falsely convicted of raping a jogger in New York City in 1989.

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