victor harris's Reviews > Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

Unfair by Adam Benforado
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M 50x66
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really liked it

Although it hasn't attracted much mainstream attention, it is well worth a visit. As the title indicates it deals with the "science" of the justice system. One might add and the "social science" as it delves into the psychological dimensions of judges and juries. Unfortunately much of the progress made in such areas is not heeded, either by design or through ignorance. Often that very science is used to reinforce prejudices and court presentations that can influence jurors who are not science savvy.
Not surprisingly, if you are impoverished or a minority, the system is heavily stacked against you. That is not just a cry from the oppressed populations it is verified in multiple studies.
It also reinforces the research about the unreliability of eye-witnesses, and victims who pick people out of a carefully staged line up. Even DNA, the magic bullet for convictions in so many TV shows, is not nearly as reliable as advertised. Although at least in that area, it has often been used for exculpation, but sadly often many years after false confessions or false identifications have doomed innocent people to years of incarceration.
The author does make a number of recommendations on improving the situation and lean more heavily toward the rehabilitation rather than punishment side of sentencing. How realistic they would be to implement is open to question, but certainly availing ourselves of the more empirically based options would make some strides toward relieving the worst abuses in an unjust and seriously flawed system.
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Reading Progress

July 16, 2016 – Started Reading
July 16, 2016 – Shelved
July 19, 2016 –
page 26
July 21, 2016 –
page 38
July 21, 2016 –
page 38
August 15, 2016 – Finished Reading

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