The Truth about Lying

You can’t spot a liar just by looking, but psychologists are zeroing in on methods that might actually work.
Alphonse Bertillon, first head of the Forensic Identification Service of the Prefecture de Police in Paris (1893).

The Origins of the Mug Shot

US police departments began taking photographs of people they arrested in the 1850s.
Dr William Dodd, executed for forgery

Punishing Forgery with Death

In early nineteenth-century England, forging currency was considered to be such a subversive threat that it was punished with the death penalty.
fingerprint crime

Fingerprints and Crime

The first criminal conviction based on fingerprint evidence took place in Argentina on 1892, thanks to a police official inspired by eugenics.
prison slang

When Prison Time Meant Rhymes

The “gay, frolicsome and amusing" rhymes of 1970s American prison slang.
Treadmills atonement

Treadmills Were Meant to Be Atonement Machines

America’s favorite piece of workout equipment was developed as a device for forced labor in British prisons. It was banned as cruel and inhumane by 1900.
interrogation room

The Psychology Behind False Confessions

In criminal interrogation, interrogators often ask questions and interpret the responses in such a way as to confirm guilt.
Prison interior

Why Do We Have Prisons in the United States?

The Enlightenment brought the idea that punishments should be certain and mild, rather than harsh with lots of pardons and exceptions.
Rodney King video

Why Didn’t the Rodney King Video Lead to a Conviction?

The grainy pictures speak for themselves. Or so thought many Americans who watched the video of the March 3rd, 1991, beating of motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
Juvenile sentencing

Why Does the U.S. Sentence Children to Life in Prison?

The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences people to die in prison for offenses committed while under the age of 18.