The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five

The purpose of this assignment is for you to observe case a wrongful that involves a false confession. You will be able to learn about a real-life case in which five teenagers falsely confessed to a crime they did not commit as well as about the person who actually committed the crime. In addition, you should be able to see several of the psychological processes that we’ve discussed in our interrogation and confession modules at work in this movie.

To complete this paper, watch the movie The Central Park Five

 (Links to an external site.)

Links to an external site.


As of August 2017, it was available for streaming via Amazon Prime, but you can you can also rent, buy, or borrow the movie via other venues as well. You can also do a free 6 month trial of Amazon Prime as a student if you do not have it already. Click HERE to sign up. 

 (Links to an external site.)

Links to an external site.

The main topics in this movie are the causes and consequences of the false confessions. However, please be aware that this documentary discusses a stranger-rape. Although there are not reenactments of the rape, there are verbal descriptions of what occurred. If you do not feel you will be able to watch this documentary or complete this assignment because of this content, please let me know and we can figure out an alternative assignment for you.

For this case analysis, you should submit the following items:

    1      Case summary. A summary of the events depicted in the video. This summary does not need to be particularly long; generally a paragraph or two summarizing the main events will do.

    2      Reaction.A minimum of a paragraph discussing your reaction to the documentary. I assume many of you will have a reaction to the movie and this is your chance to express it.

    3      Question answers.Your answers to the questions below. In your paper, please include the question you are responding to, and then put your answer below the question. These questions are designed to help you think about this case as it relates to the material you have read in this class and think critically about the video as it relates to class material. You providing me with your answers to them allows me to see that you have engaged in the critical thinking process.

Please note that many of the questions ask about “the boys.” Many of the answers are the same for all of the boys, but if you would like to talk about one of the people in particular, feel free to take that liberty. Just make sure it is clear which person you are referring to. In your paper, again, please include the question you are responding to. 

1      Did you see any evidence that the interrogators used aspects of the Reid Technique? If so, which ones?

2      Were the boys’ parents’ present during the interrogations? If so, what do you think the effect of having parents present was on the boys?

3      Which dis positional risk factors for false confessions did these boys have?

4      Which situational risk factors for false confessions were present when these boys were interrogated?

5      Were the confessions voluntary, coerced-compliant, or coerced-internalized?

6      Were the entire interrogations videotaped or just the confessions? How do you think that affected how the boys were perceived?

7      What aspects of the confessions made them convincing to the jurors?

8      (These last two are to get you thinking about a topic that will be covered later) What seemed to be some of the hardest things for the boys/men once they were released?

9      What do you think these men should get as compensation for their experiences and the time they spent incarcerated?

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