11/15/2009

Dilemma....

A Prisoner's dilemma... Suppose two suspects were arrested by the Cedar City Police Department. After the initial interviews and evidence collection, and the police believe that they have insufficient evidence for a conviction.
The next step would be to separate the prisoners, interview them individually and offer each the same deal. The deal is simple enough, one testifies for the prosecution, in exchange for freedom and the other will get the full sentence with conviction of ten years. The catch, however is if neither prisoner takes the deal, then both prisoners would receive a minor six months in jail for a misdemeanor charge. When both suspects decide to take the deal and betray each other, both will receive a conviction with a mandatory five-year sentence. Both of the suspects are offered the deal, and each must decide to betray his 'friend' or remain silent. Officers assure the suspects that the plan for testimony will not be divulged before the trial. What is a suspect to do? Through my employment I have frequent interaction with officers of many jurisdictions and have loved to hear stories of this technique and the outcome. Many choose to betray the 'friend' and ultimately lose the deal... What would you do?

4 comments:

Maya said...

The information for the concept was taken from: http://william-king.www.drexel.edu/top/eco/game/dilemma.html with liberty taken to change the details of the sentences. Unfortunately I hit publish prior to finishing my thought....

skylar said...

The answer would be simple if there was a way to communicate with the other party. You would have to use your one phone call and call the family member of the other guy or something like that to let them know the plans. Once the communications have been transferred you can only hope that both of the prisoners can trust one another. That is the hardest part because nobody can trust a crook.

Kaylee said...

I would probably confess, I have a guilty conscience, I would probably spill the beans to the cops. My counter question, is how could anyone possibly strategically plan this?

Kyle said...

This is an interesting dilemma that hopefully we will never have to face ourselves. Our game theory predicts that both will take the deal, for that is the dominant strategy for each prisoner. I suppose that it depends on how loyal the criminals are to each other and if they are economists or MBA students. If they are loyal and fall into one of the mentioned categories, it's possible that it was already decided that neither will take the deal!