False Confessions and Sleep Deprivation

False Confessions and Sleep Deprivation

Emily Kelley

A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has definitively linked sleep deprivation and false confessions.[1] According to the study, a suspect is 4.5 times more likely to confess to a crime he/she did not commit if they are sleep deprived. According to other sources, an alarming one out of four people wrongfully convicted, made a false confession.[2] This study is a substantial step towards understanding why people admit to crimes they didn’t commit, a nationwide epidemic brought to the forefront of Netflix’s ten part documentary, Making A Murderer.[3] [4] [5]

While science may have just been able to prove the connection between sleep deprivation and false confessions, sleep deprivation as an interrogation tactic has been used for centuries. An Italian Lawyer, Hippolytus de Marisiliis first wrote about sleep deprivation and interrogation in 1451.[6]  Since then, sleep deprivation has been used to solicit confessions from medieval witch-hunts to enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. [7] [8]

If you or a loved one are ever interrogated by the police, you have the right to remain silent and request legal representation. However, if you gave a false confession while in custody, you still have options. Contact the team at Ethos Legal Services – we can help!  Call (970) 233-8915, [email protected].

[1] http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/02/04/1521518113.abstract

[2] http://www.innocenceproject.org/causes-wrongful-conviction/false-confessions-or-admissions

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/01/03/why-making-a-murderer-is-netflixs-most-significant-show-ever/#29e01d9a5c00

[4] http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/science-behind-brendan-dasseys-confession.html

[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/making-a-murderer-and-the-science-of-false-confessions-2016-2

[6] Streatfeild, D. (2006). Brainwash: The secret history of mind control. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[7] http://sleepjunkies.com/features/sleep-deprivation-and-torture-a-brief-history/

[8] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dreaming-in-the-digital-age/201412/why-sleep-deprivation-is-torture