psychology research paper

Topics: Euthanasia, Supermax, Solitary confinement Pages: 10 (3827 words) Published: May 23, 2014
the indian high school, dubai
Psychology research paper
Topic – “Psychology & law”

Teacher’s name – Mrs. Liza Varghese

Date – 27 April, 2014

Research work compiled by –
Kanchi Uttamchandani & Anieka Sequeira

Psychology and law

The field of law and psychology is interdisciplinary which serves to shed light on the emotions that pervade the legal systems, to illuminate the implicit and explicit assumptions about emotions that animates legal framework of principles, doctrines, reasoning & ideologies. Euthanasia has been legalized in a small number of countries. In all jurisdictions, safeguards were put in place to prevent abuse of these practices such as - explicit consent by the person requesting euthanasia, mandatory reporting of all cases & administration only by physicians. However these laws are regularly transgressed and not even prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50% of cases of euthanasia are not reported. Increased tolerance of transgressions in societies with such laws represents a social “slippery slope”. Although the initial intent was to limit euthanasia as a last-resort option for a very small number of terminally ill people, some jurisdictions now extend the practice to newborns, children, and people with dementia. A terminal illness is no longer a prerequisite. In the Netherlands, euthanasia for anyone over the age of 70 who is “tired of living” is now being considered. Legalizing euthanasia therefore places many people at risk, affects the values of society over time, and does not provide controls and safeguards. Many prison administrators view the imposition of solitary confinement as a vital tool in maintaining order and discipline in their institutions. Consequently, courts have given prison administrators discretion to determine if solitary confinement is appropriate. Over the past twenty years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of inmates held in solitary confinement. They spend between twenty-two and twenty-three hours per day in isolation, often for several years at a time, in stark cells frequently devoid of personal possessions, books, and windows. Inmates in solitary confinement also have a substantially higher likelihood of being admitted to prison hospitals for psychiatric morbidity. Many lawyers rely on eyewitness identifications in the courtroom, but scientific research increasingly suggests that this evidence is often unreliable. Eyewitnesses may be influenced by a suspect’s race and by feedback from law enforcement officers. Hundreds of prisoners, many of them scheduled to be executed, have been exonerated based on post-conviction DNA evidence. How did they get to prison if they were innocent? Psychology researchers have noted that nearly all of those cases have one common component: misidentification by eyewitnesses. How can these things happen? How can someone mis-remember something as vivid as the perpetrator of a crime? While no legal system is perfect, scientific research may increase our understanding of the psychological underpinnings of euthanasia, eyewitness testimony, solitary confinement etc. and thus strengthen our legal systems.

Solitary confinement:

Introduction & description:

Thesis statement - Solitary confinement was originally put into effect to destroy habits of unspeakable behavior but it also might prove to strip the prisoner of their natural born rights as a human being and cause severe psychological issues.

Solitary confinement is a condition of extreme isolation and deprivation imposed on selected inmates for security, disciplinary, or protective reasons. Such intentional isolation of inmates is also called administrative segregation, disciplinary segregation, protective custody or suicide watch. Its effects include disorientation, hallucinations, perceptual disorders,...

Tracy Hresko, “In the Cellars of Hollow Men: Use of Solitary Confinement in US Prisons and its Implications”
Harris - "The euthanasia debate" NM. (Oct 2001)
Prison Psychiatry
Eyewitness Identification: “Issues in Common Knowledge and Generalization.” Gary L. Wells and Lisa E. Hasel in “Beyond Common Sense: Psychological Science in the Courtroom.”
Edited by E. Borgida and S. T. Fiske. Wiley-Blackwell, 2007
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