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Safeguarding youth interrogation rights: the effect of grade level and reading complexity of youth waiver forms on the comprehension of legal rights

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Applied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)427-431
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/01/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The extent to which youths understand their interrogation rights was examined. High school students (N=160) from five different grades were presented with one of two Canadian youth waiver forms—varying widely in reading complexity—and tested on their knowledge of their legal rights. Results showed that comprehension of both waiver forms was equally deficient, and systematic misunderstandings of vital legal rights were discovered (e.g., the right to remain silent). There was also a positive linear relationship between high school grade level and amount of comprehension. Potential ways to enhance youths’ understand- ing of their rights and provide them protection during interrogations are discussed.