U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Confessing Their Crime: Factors Influencing the Offender's Decision to Confess to the Police

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 113-145
Nadine Deslauriers-Varin; Patrick Lussier; Michel St-Yves
Date Published
February 2011
33 pages
This study examined factors that may affect an offender's reasons for confessing to the police.
Confessions are crucial to successful police investigations but scholars have significantly overlooked factors that contribute to an offender's decision to confess a crime. This study aims to examine a large array of factors that play a role in the offender's decision to confess a crime to the police and potential interaction effect among them. A total of 221 adult males incarcerated in a Federal Canadian penitentiary were recruited. Correctional files, police reports, and offenders' self-reported data were collected and analyzed. Controlling for sociodemographic, criminological, and contextual factors, a series of logistic regression analyses were conducted. Findings highlighted the predominant role of police evidence over and above other factors analyzed. Furthermore, sociodemographic and criminological factors played a more important role in the offender's decision to confess when police evidence was weak. Findings are discussed in light of the current scientific literature on the determinants of offenders' decision to confess their crime. Tables and references (Published Abstract)