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Top Criminal Justice TED Talks

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered the wonder that is the TED Talk, imagine the eloquence and magnetism of the best teacher you’ve ever had combined with a smidge of quirkiness, a dollop of inspiration, and the convenience of Netflix. That’s a TED Talk.

What’s really amazing about TED Talks is that the smartest individuals from their respective fields are able to communicate complex ideas that inspire and provoke thought in experts and non-experts alike.

Here are our favorites (in no particular order) from experts in psychology, criminal law, and criminal justice.

The Neuroscience of Restorative Justice

Daniel Reisel studies the brains of criminal psychopaths (and mice). And he asks a big question: Instead of warehousing these criminals, shouldn’t we be using what we know about the brain to help them rehabilitate?

Wrongful Convictions

Rob Warden examines the phenomena of false confessions and how they can be attributed to half of all murder cases. His plan to eradicate them from the legal system has the potential to revolutionize the justice system as we know it.

How Juries are Fooled by Statistics

Statistics are often hard to understand. But when it’s an expert witness in a trial providing the faulty numbers, it can have a devastating impact. Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics — and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

Why Eyewitnesses Get it Wrong

Scott Fraser studies how humans remember crimes — and bear witness to them. In this powerful talk, which focuses on a deadly shooting at sunset, he suggests that even close-up eyewitnesses to a crime can create “memories” they could not have seen. Why? Because the brain abhors a vacuum.

The Small Detail Police Track About You

A very unsexy-sounding piece of technology could mean that the police know where you go, with whom, and when: the automatic license plate reader. These cameras are innocuously placed all across small-town America to catch known criminals, but as lawyer and TED Fellow Catherine Crump shows, the data they collect in aggregate could have disastrous consequences for everyone the world over.

For more of our favorite TED Talks, follow our “Criminal Justice TED Talks” collection page on Google Plus.

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