FDL Movie Night: Scenes of a Crime

By: Monday January 7, 2013 5:00 pm

After watching Scenes of a Crime, the acclaimed documentary from Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh about police interrogation techniques eliciting a false confession, I was struck by how simple and obvious the methods are, yet how utterly effective. If you’ve ever watched more than an episode of the original Law & Order, the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation should be familiar to you–and no doubt, we think securely, if ever falsely accused of a crime, we’d never fall for them.

Don’t be so sure, says Richard Ofshe, a U.S. expert witness on false confessions.

 

Isolation, Indeterminate Sentences Used to Extract Confessions at California Supermax Prisons

By: Sunday July 17, 2011 6:45 am

The conditions at Security Housing Units (SHU) at Pelican Bay Prison, and other Supermax prisons, clearly constitute torture and/or cruel, inhumane treatment of prisoners. It relies on the use of severe isolation or solitary confinement, the effects of which I’ve written about before in the context of the Bradley Manning case (see here and here). At Pelican Bay, the prisoners in “administrative segregation” are locked in a gray concrete 8′X10′ foot cell 22-1/2 hours per day. The other time (if that privilege is granted) is spent alone in a tiny concrete yard. There is no human physical contact. No work, no communal activities. If the prisoner has enough money they can purchase a TV or radio. Meals are pushed through a slot in the metal door.

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