DEATH OF A GREAT IDEA

It was with hope and pride that the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York announced the formation of the Arson Screening Project in 2008. The purpose of the project would be to review arson cases for the kind of “junk science” that had put unknown numbers of innocent people in jail, and perhaps get some convictions overturned.

SIX DANGEROUS MYTHS ABOUT ARSON

For many years fire investigators believed that they could use certain “burn indicators” to show that a fire was purposely-set instead of accidental. As a result, many people were sent to jail for arsons they never committed. The field has been modernized in recent years: arson investigations are more scientific than ever before. Nonetheless, several myths endure “proving” cases of arson – myths that send the innocent to prison: