Obtaining information from juveniles

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Criminology

Document 1

Why it is Difficult to Obtain Information from Victims of Crime or Vulnerable Quite often, psychological and situational factors may limit children from providing the required information about delinquency. A new study by the Florida International University found out that juvenile victims of crime or suspects are more likely to falsely confess to criminal acts compared to their older counterparts (Andorfer and Malloy, 2013). Accordingly, there is a need for people to understand that juveniles become vulnerable during interrogations and that the manner in which authorities or caregivers inquire for information from the youth may have significant impacts. Kassin et al (2010) posit that even though confessions and interrogations are conducted in privacy, the police in many cases have used substantially too much force, threats and other undesirable tactics like false close associations to inquire for information, prompting many youths to confess to false information because they are immature and cannot make rational choices for themselves. Such intrigues put the chances of gaining the desired information from victims of crime into further uncertainty. Authorities in America and Canada for instance, apply the Reid technique where suspects are subjected to observation for possible lies, before interrogation (King and Snook, 2009). Where the interviewer presumes they are dishonest, he applies tactics that presume they are guilty and do not believe or give them any chance to explain their accounts. This technique makes a suspect vulnerable and may prompt them to confess rationally with the assumption they would be found guilty. Across the UK, the situation gets better, with the adoption of an investigative interview, which solely depends on collecting relevant information rather than pushing a suspect or victim to confession.

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Other nations have used techniques that require substantive evidence supporting confession, before deciding the fate of convicted individuals. Experts posit that juvenile brains are less mature and not fully developed; as a result, they are vulnerable to false confessions, as they have been accustomed to respect for authorities like the police. According to social psychology, children are more susceptible to false confessions as they may have less understanding of consequences, or may focus on the short-term reward of finishing the interview hence it becomes absolutely difficult to come up with the right information about their delinquency. A case of a young Stefan Kiszko, a young man of around 12 years, still with a low IQ, for example, ascertains the claim that children may be vulnerable to false confessions. He was interviewed in Rochdale without a solicitor and at the trial, he pulled back his account and retaliated that whatever confession he had made was as a result of the bullying he had received from the police.

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According to him, the evidence would set him free; unfortunately, it was not presented before the judge (The Psychology of False Confessions, 2019). Up to 2018, about 280 cases of people have had their convictions overturned due to a false confession. Cases of people indulging in criminal acts such as rape and homicide, and who have provided false confessions, have been deeply scrutinized, and results point out that the victims suffer mental disorders such as Intellectual Development Disorder (Gudjonsson et al. Some children have perfected the tendency of telling lies from the experiences with their parents whom they live to see telling about lies quite often. It becomes devastating to get truthful information from such juveniles, who have a formed opinion that telling lies is a normal way of life. Many parents have lied to their children back at home to prevent them from knowing an unpleasant truth,for instance by deceiving them that everything would be well while it was not, or telling them to lie to their close relatives how they liked gifts offered to them for example, when they did not actually mean it.

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However, where there is no substantive evidence, it becomes relatively difficult to get the right information intended about delinquency. Why It Could be relatively possible to Get Information from Juveniles There are some instances where juveniles, upon conviction, are likely to provide information to authorities. A study by the American Psychology-Law Society Association (2019) posits that adolescents are more likely to waive their Miranda Rights as a result of a misunderstanding of some proportion of the important right to remain silent and may make decisions based on the short-term perception of their consequences, rather than the long-term (Andrea and Malloy, 2019). Many adolescents have fallen victim to the illusion of transparency, a systematic assumption that accurately estimates the degree to which others deceive or are truthful in their statements or actions; hence provide information to authorities, as they fear false confessions may easily be identified (Brown and Stopa, 2007).

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Additionally, such confessions may be shaped by truthful feelings and self-presentation behavior, acquired in early adolescence. As such, younger children tend to believe that false confessions come with a number of benefits as compared to giving truthful accounts. On the other hand, those aged between seven and nine felt a sense of guilt upon giving deceitful accounts while they developed positive emotions as a result of making truthful confessions. Sometimes, adolescents may develop feelings of guilt that ultimately makes it easier for interrogators to obtain truthful information about crime from their statements (Horowitz 1956, pg 6). Ideally, where many young adults have committed criminal acts, they become vulnerable to self-hostility, arising from the inner acknowledgment of their bad deeds. As a result of the guilt from unconscious victims develop the feeling that they must confess the bad acts that confine them to the guilt, thereby providing interrogators with the required information.

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References Andrea, A. and Malloy, C. Interrogations, Confessions, and Vulnerability of the youth [online] Available at: https://www. apadivisions. org/division-41/publications/newsletters/news/2013/07/interrogations [Accessed 4 Jan. online] Available at: https://myemail. constantcontact. com/Mental-Disability-and-the-Risk-of-False-Confession. html?soid=1130747716366&aid=3qCC99AUI6c [Accessed 3 Jan. Gudjonsson, G.  The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 47(2), p. Kassin, S. M. and Gudjonsson, G. H. King, L. and Snook, B. Peering inside a Canadian interrogation room: An examination of the Reid model of interrogation, influence tactics, and coercive strategies.  Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36(7), pp. Smith, C. psychologytoday. com/us/articles/200303/the-false-confession [Accessed 3 Jan.

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