In 1966, in Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court sought to mitigate the inherently coercive atmosphere of custodial interrogations to protect victims from involuntary self-incrimination. In analyzing custody for Miranda purposes, courts look at whether a reasonable person would feel that his freedom of movement had been restricted. When conducting this analysis for a prisoner questioned during incarceration, courts should thoroughly consider the negative psychological effects of prisons in order to understand the prisoner’s mindset. The Court had the opportunity to do so in Howes v. Fields, but it instead minimized the coercive effects of prisons. Moreover, the Court’s finding that the prisoner in Howes was not in Miranda custody is inconsistent with its past holdings. This Note argues that, in the future, courts should consider with greater nuance the negative effects of prisons in order to protect prisoners from making involuntary confessions.
Protecting Prisoners During Custodial Interrogations: The Road Forward After Howes v. Fields,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.