For too long, young people suspected of crimes in the U.S. have been subjected to coercive and deceptive interrogation techniques. These troubling practices are the norm in many jurisdictions today, despite studies showing that youth are uniquely susceptible to – and often suffer greater harm as a result of – these tactics. As evidenced by many high-profile cases such as the Exonerated Central Park Five, coerced and false confessions from youth have led to gross miscarriages of justice that undermine public safety and erode trust in the criminal legal system.
The U.S. is an international outlier when it comes to its youth interrogation practices, and some states and policy leaders have started to advance reforms designed to address these concerns and safeguard children’s rights. Even with this engagement, there is much more work to be done to align our nation’s practices with humane and evidence-based approaches.
In a webinar to be held on Wednesday, March 9th, Fair Trials and Fair and Just Prosecution will bring together national and international criminal justice experts and leaders to discuss long overdue reforms needed to ensure adequate protections for, and fair treatment of, young people throughout the interrogation process. The discussion will highlight best practices, key principles, and national reforms – including ensuring access to adequate counsel, providing developmentally appropriate Miranda warnings, and mandating humane conditions during questioning of youth – aimed at avoiding injustices arising from the coercive interrogation of young people.