Why do people confess to crimes they did not commit? And, surely, those cases must be rare? In fact, it happens all the time—in police stations, workplaces, public schools, and the military. Psychologist Saul Kassin, the world’s leading expert on false confessions, explains how interrogators trick innocent people into confessing, and then how the criminal justice system deludes us into believing these confessions.
Duped reveals how innocent men, women, and children, intensely stressed and befuddled by lawful weapons of psychological interrogation, are induced into confession, no matter how horrific the crime. By featuring riveting case studies, highly original research, work by the Innocence Project, and quotes from real-life exonerees, Kassin tells the story of how false confessions happen, and how they corrupt forensics, witnesses, and other evidence, force guilty pleas, and follow defendants for their entire lives— even after they are exonerated by DNA.
Starting in the 1980’s, Dr. Kassin pioneered the scientific study of interrogations and confessions. Since then, he has been on the forefront of research and advocacy for those wrongfully convicted by police-induced false confessions. Examining famous cases like the Central Park jogger case and Amanda Knox case, as well as stories of ordinary innocent people trapped into confession, Dr. Kassin exposes just how widespread this problem is. Concluding with actionable solutions and proposals for legislative reform, Duped shows why the stigma of confession persists and how we can reform the criminal justice system to make it stop.
“As you read this blurb, you know you would never confess to a crime you didn’t commit. Read this compelling study and you’ll change your mind. Dr. Kassin lays bare the dirty tricks used by police to make innocents confess. And he describes, convincingly, what should be done to stop them.”
– John Grisham, #1 New York Times-bestselling author
"This book about confessions is transformative. After reading these riveting stories from the interrogation room, you’ll wonder what’s worse — that innocent people can be tricked into confession or that the rest of us are then deluded into believing those confessions. That’s why, says Kassin, 'it is time for the system to cure itself of its addiction to confessions.'” —Ken Burns, award-winning documentary filmmaker
"A tour de force for what is wrong with criminal justice and how to fix it. False confessions are one of the most pernicious phenomena in our criminal legal system. Duped, with Kassin’s unique clarity, impeccable logic, and great story telling, explains just how easy it is to be pressured to admit to a crime we did not commit. For the last four decades, Kassin has been America’s leading researcher and thinker in the field. With this book, he provides the reasoning and tools to protect you, your loved ones, and us all from being trapped despite innocence.”– Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project
“The scariest moment of my life was in the interrogation room, where I was coerced into signing false statements that implicated me in the murder of my friend. For years, I thought that no one would understand, then Saul Kassin showed me his research. What happened to me that night has happened to so many others. And it could happen to you. Duped is not only necessary for criminal justice reform, it is a stunning view into the fragility of the human mind.”
– Amanda Knox, exoneree, activist, and author of Waiting to Be Heard
“Think no one would confess to a crime he or she didn’t commit? Saul Kassin’s Duped will change your mind forever. Comprehensive, engaging, and based on decades of psychological expertise, Duped takes the reader deep into the fascinating world of false confessions like never before. For armchair sleuths and attorneys alike, Duped is a must-read.”– Laura Nirider, co-director of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions
“Duped is an instant classic. Kassin brings a lifetime of experience – in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the courtroom as an expert in actual cases – to the subject of police-induced false confessions. Duped will be one of the first books off the shelf for those looking for answers to two eternal questions: ‘Why would anyone falsely confess and ‘Why are we so inclined to believe false confessions?’”
– Steven A. Drizin, co-director of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions
"Duped is a must-read for those seeking to reform the criminal legal system. While Kassin has long been revered for his pioneering research on how false confessions happen, he also provides advocates with a blueprint for reform. This extremely readable book puts the lay person inside of the interrogation room and offers a window into why innocent people would plead guilty in court. Kassin, like no other, helps us to not only understand the psychology of self-incrimination, but shares solutions about what we can do about it." – Rebecca Brown, Director of Policy, the Innocence Project
“Upon reading Kassin's book it is jarringly easy to understand how police and prosecutors obtain false confessions and use them to gain wrongful convictions. In almost all cases, a confession, no matter what other evidence exists or not, results in a conviction. Duped breaks down the myths that most of us ‘would never confess to a crime I did not commit.’ Under the right circumstances, most of us would do just that.”
– Lonnie Soury, co-founder, Families and Friends of the Wrongfully Convicted; founder of Falseconfessions.org
“Saul Kassin is a revered figure in the innocence movement in large part because of his pioneering work in the field of false confessions. Duped shines a much-needed light on this terrifying phenomenon, which has been a major factor in over 25% of wrongful conviction cases nationwide. Duped reads like a great novel, but it’s all too real.” – Jason Flom, Host of Wrongful Convictions Podcast
“In this incisive account, psychologist Kassin (The American Jury on Trial: Psychological Perspectives) explains in layman’s terms why people make false confessions...This thought-provoking book highlights a serious flaw in the American justice system.”-Publishers Weekly
“No one in the world knows more about the science behind false confessions than Saul Kassin – Duped should be required reading for every police investigator in the country.”
– John F. Hollway, executive director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice