Errors of Justice

Nature, Sources and Remedies

by Brian Forst

Series: Cambridge Studies in Criminology

In this book, Brian Forst takes a fresh perspective on the assessment of criminal justice policy, examining the prospect of assessing policies based on their impact on errors of justice: the error of failing to bring offenders to justice, on the one hand, and the error of imposing costs on innocent people and excessive costs on offenders, on the other. Noting that we have sophisticated systems for managing errors in statistical inference and quality control processes and no parallel system for managing errors of a more socially costly variety - on matters of guilt and innocence - the author lays the foundation for a common sense approach to the management of errors in the criminal justice system, from policing and prosecution to sentencing and corrections. He examines the sources of error in each sector, the harms they impose on society, and frameworks for analyzing and reducing them.


In The Press

'Brian Forst tackles the topic of errors of justice in a balanced manner that has been absent from the scholarly debate on the effects of the criminal justice policy on outcomes … no other book that addresses such a range of important criminal justice topics using the critical yardstick of analysis, and that is indeed the book's major strength … long overdue. The book provides a blueprint for the kinds of data we need to better estimate the extent and costs of real errors associated with criminal justice policy. Dr Forst is ideally suited to write this book. His expertise on statistical inference, criminal justice information systems, policing, prosecution, and the death penalty is put to powerful use here. The book is immensely readable, rigorous and thorough, yet it will be accessible to non-technical readers. This is a valuable scholarly contribution. I loved it!' Joan Petersilia, University of California, Irvine