The New Science of Criminal Injustice (2015.6)


关于本书 About the book

A child is gunned down by a police officer; an investigator ignores critical clues in a case; an innocent man confesses to a crime he did not commit; a jury acquits a killer. The evidence is all around us: Our system of justice is fundamentally broken.

But it’s not for the reasons we tend to think, as law professor Adam Benforado argues in this eye-opening, galvanizing book. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we would still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. This is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us.

本书金句 Key insights

● It is not only criminals whose behavior can be easily and unconsciously swayed by neurological shifts in the brain; judges, lawyers, cops and juries are all subject to cognitive biases that, taken together, have helped create a deeply unfair justice system in the United States.

● There are certain behavioral or situational circumstances – like poverty, social pressure or even brain trauma – that can lead people to criminality.

● Every year, 77,000 people are charged with crimes simply because an eyewitness picked them out of a lineup – that seems grossly unfair. Not surprisingly, erroneous eyewitness identifications are one of the primary causes of wrongful convictions.

● These “expert” techniques and technologies, like polygraphs and thermal imaging, are not very reliable or scientific. This just goes to show how much blind faith we place in science.

● Nobody wants to admit it, but a central goal of the US justice system is not only to deter potential offenders and incapacitate dangerous people – it also punishes out of vengeance.