Hayley Cleary

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University

Areas of Expertise

  • Juvenile justice
  • Police interrogation of juveniles
  • Juvenile justice policy
  • Adolescent development

Key Findings

  • Information-gathering techniques were used more frequently and high-pressure tactics were less frequent in the range of techniques officers used. MORE
  • More than half of the surveyed officers indicated being trained in psychologically coercive techniques for both adults and juveniles. MORE
  • The median length of the juvenile interrogation was 46 minutes and had a large range, from 6 minutes to nearly 5 hours. MORE
  • Notable characteristics of the youth in the sample showed that they frequently agreed to questioning without the presence of a parent or advocate. MORE
  • The explicit application of developmental principles for juvenile interrogation research and practice is vital for due process and juvenile interrogation research. MORE
  • Previous trauma may serve as a risk factor for involuntary or false confessions among juvenile suspects. MORE
  • Sociodemographic and criminological factors did not impact incarcerated individuals’ self-reported confessions. MORE
  • In a study of interrogations from suspects’ point of view, experiences varied considerably, as did perceptions of custody, beliefs about incriminating evidence, and intent before interrogation to confess to or deny committing a crime. MORE


Hayley Cleary, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University, is an expert in police interrogation of juveniles, adolescent development in legal contexts and juvenile justice policy and practice.

Cleary was named the 2018 Louise Kidder Early Career Award winner for contributions to social issues research by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and she has been invited on numerous occasions to share her work with academic, law enforcement, and attorney audiences, including the FBI National Academy, the Virginia state legislature, and attorney organizations in several states.

Cleary received a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Georgetown University, an M.P.P. in Public Policy at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and a B.A. in Psychology and Russian Studies at the University of Virginia.