Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
Adam Benforado

The “new science” referred to in the subtitle of this book is a combination of neuroscience and social psychology. In recent years it has become all the rage to examine conventional thinking and received wisdom on a host of subjects in light of the latest developments in our understanding of how the mind works and small-group behaviour. Unfair is another example, bringing science to bear on the criminal justice system. According to law professor Adam Benforado, despite all the breakthroughs in forensic science that have been made in recent years, criminal law is still in the dark ages. This is because it is a human system, and so heir to all our human failings, many of which we are blind to or unconscious of. Looking in turn at all of the players in the justice system — the accused, victims, the police, lawyers, judges, witnesses, and juries — he shows how the ideal of fairness is compromised at every turn, but also how, by using the same scientific insights, the system might be reformed.