HOME

TheInfoList




The Reid technique is a method of
interrogation Interrogation (also called questioning) is interview conducted with a member of the public File:Luis Castro esklevndurt.jpg, Some interviews are recorded for television broadcast An interview is essentially a structured conversation where ...

interrogation
. The system was developed in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
by John E. Reid in the 1950s. Reid was a psychologist, polygraph expert, and former Chicago police officer. The technique is known for creating a high pressure environment for the interviewee, followed by sympathy and offers of understanding and help, but only if a confession is forthcoming. Since its spread in the 1960s, it has been a mainstay of police procedure, especially in the United States. Proponents of the Reid technique say it is useful in extracting information from otherwise unwilling suspects. Critics say the technique results in an unacceptably high rate of
false confessions A false confession is an admission of culpability, guilt for a crime which the individual did not commit. Although such confessions seem counterintuitive, they can be made voluntarily, perhaps to protect a third party, or induced through coerc ...
, especially from juveniles and the mentally impaired. Criticism has also been leveled in the opposite case — that against strong-willed interviewees, the technique causes them to stop talking and give no information whatsoever, rather than elicit lies that can be checked against for the guilty or exonerating details for the innocent.


Background

In 1955 in
Lincoln, Nebraska Lincoln is the capital city of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North ...

Lincoln, Nebraska
, Reid helped gain a confession from a suspect, Darrel Parker, in his wife's murder. This case established Reid's reputation and popularized his technique. Parker recanted his confession the next day, but it was admitted to evidence at his trial. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison. He was later determined to be innocent, after another man confessed and was found to have been the perpetrator. Parker sued the state for
wrongful conviction A miscarriage of justice occurs when a grossly unfair outcome is made in a criminal procedure, criminal or civil procedure, civil proceeding, such as the conviction of a person for a crime that they actual innocence, did not commit. There is no ...
; it paid him $500,000 in compensation. In spite of Parker's false confession, Reid co-authored a text explaining his interrogation techniques. Reid died in 1982 but his company, John E. Reid and Associates, continued: as of 2013, it was led by president Joseph Buckley, who had been hired by Reid. By that year, the company had "trained more interrogators than any other company in the world", and Reid's technique had been adopted by law enforcement agencies of many different types, with it being especially influential in North America.


Process

The Reid technique consists of a three-phase process beginning with fact analysis, followed by the behavior analysis interview (a non-accusatory interview designed to develop investigative and behavioral information), followed when appropriate by the Reid nine steps of interrogation. According to process guidelines, individuals should be interrogated only when the information developed from the interview and investigation indicate that the subject is involved in the commission of the crime. In the Reid technique, interrogation is an accusatory process, in which the investigator tells the suspect that the results of the investigation clearly indicate that they did commit the crime in question. The interrogation is in the form of a
monologue In theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often ...
presented by the investigator rather than a question and answer format. The demeanor of the investigator during the course of an interrogation is ideally understanding, patient, and non-demeaning. The Reid technique user's goal is to make the suspect gradually more comfortable with telling the truth. This is accomplished by the investigator's first imagining and then offering the suspect various psychological constructs as justification for their behavior. For example, an admission of guilt might be prompted by the question, "Did you plan this out or did it just happen on the spur of the moment?" This is called an alternative question, which is based on an
implicit assumption A tacit assumption or implicit assumption is an assumption that underlies a logical argument, course of action, Decision-making, decision, or judgment that is not explicitly voiced nor necessarily understood by the decision maker or judge. These a ...
of guilt. Critics regard this strategy as hazardous, arguing that it is subject to
confirmation bias Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholo ...
(likely to reinforce inaccurate beliefs or assumptions) and may lead to prematurely narrowing an investigation.


Nine steps of interrogation

The Reid technique's nine steps of interrogation are: # Positive confrontation. Advise the suspect that the evidence has led the police to the individual as a suspect. Offer the person an early opportunity to explain why the offense took place. # Try to shift the blame away from the suspect to some other person or set of circumstances that prompted the suspect to commit the crime. That is, develop themes containing reasons that will psychologically justify or excuse the crime. Themes may be developed or changed to find one to which the accused is most responsive. # Try to minimize the frequency of suspect denials. # At this point, the accused will often give a reason why he or she did not or could not commit the crime. Try to use this to move towards the acknowledgement of what they did. # Reinforce sincerity to ensure that the suspect is receptive. # The suspect will become quieter and listen. Move the theme of the discussion toward offering alternatives. If the suspect cries at this point, infer guilt. # Pose the "alternative question", giving two choices for what happened; one more socially acceptable than the other. The suspect is expected to choose the easier option but whichever alternative the suspect chooses, guilt is admitted. There is always a third option which is to maintain that they did not commit the crime. # Lead the suspect to repeat the admission of guilt in front of witnesses and develop corroborating information to establish the validity of the confession. # Document the suspect's admission or confession and have him or her prepare a recorded statement (audio, video or written).


Validity

Critics claim the technique too easily produces
false confession A false confession is an admission of culpability, guilt for a crime which the individual did not commit. Although such confessions seem counterintuitive, they can be made voluntarily, perhaps to protect a third party, or induced through coerc ...
s, especially with juveniles, with second-language speakers in their non-native language, and with people whose communication/language abilities are affected by mental disabilities, including reduced intellectual capacity. While this criticism acknowledges that the technique can be "effective" in producing confessions, it is not accurate at getting guilty parties to confess, instead sweeping up people pushed to their mental limits by stress. Critics also dislike how police often apply the technique on subjects of unclear guilt, when simply gathering more information in non-stressful interrogations can be more useful both for convicting guilty suspects and exonerating innocent suspects. Of 311 people exonerated through post-conviction
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
testing, more than a quarter had given false confessions—including those convicted in such notorious cases as the
Central Park Five Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
. Some of the more minor details Reid propounded have since been called into question as well. For example, Reid believed that "tells" such as fidgeting was a sign of lying, and more generally believed that trained police interrogators could intuitively check lies merely by how they were delivered. Later studies have shown no useful correlation between any sort of body movements such as breaking eye contact or fidgeting and truth-telling. While police can be effective at cracking lies, it is via gathering contradicting evidence; police officers have shown to be no better than average people at detecting lies merely from their delivery in studies. Several European countries prohibit some interrogation techniques that are currently allowed in the United States, such as a law enforcement officer lying to a suspect about evidence, due to the perceived risk of false confessions and
wrongful conviction A miscarriage of justice occurs when a grossly unfair outcome is made in a criminal procedure, criminal or civil procedure, civil proceeding, such as the conviction of a person for a crime that they actual innocence, did not commit. There is no ...
s that might result, particularly with juveniles. For example, §136a of the German (StPO, "code of criminal procedure") bans the use of deception and intimidation in interrogations; the Reid method also conflicts with the German police's obligation to adequately inform the suspect of their
right to silence The right to silence is a legal principle which guarantees any individual the right to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement officers or court officials. It is a legal right recognized, explicitly or by convention, in many of the world ...

right to silence
. In Canada, provincial court judge Mike Dinkel ruled in 2012 that "stripped to its bare essentials, the Reid technique is a guilt-presumptive, confrontational, psychologically manipulative procedure whose purpose is to extract a confession". In December 2013, an unredacted copy of a secret
FBI The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, cre ...

FBI
interrogation manual was discovered in the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
, available for public view. The manual confirmed
American Civil Liberties Union The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for ...
concerns that FBI agents used the Reid technique in interrogations. Abuses of interrogation methods include officers treating accused suspects aggressively and telling them lies about the amount of evidence proving their guilt. Such exaggerated claims of evidence, such as video or genetics, have the potential, when combined with such coercive tactics as threats of harm or promises of leniency, to cause innocent suspects to become psychologically overwhelmed. In 2015, eight organizations, including John E. Reid & Associates, settled with Juan Rivera, who was wrongfully convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker. A number of pieces of evidence excluded Rivera, including
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
from the rape kit and the report from the electronic ankle monitor he was wearing at the time, as he awaited trial for a non-violent burglary, but he falsely confessed to the Staker crimes after being interrogated by the police several days after taking two polygraph examinations at Reid & Associates. After his exoneration, Rivera filed a suit for false arrest and
malicious prosecution Malicious prosecution is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is a ...
. The case was settled out of court with John E. Reid & Associates paying $2 million.


Alternative models

The
PEACE Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility Hostility is seen as form of emotionally charged aggressive behavior. In everyday speech it is more commonly used as a synonym A synonym is a word, morph ...
(Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure and Evaluate) model developed in Britain "encourages more of a dialogue between investigator and suspect". In 2015, the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP; french: Gendarmerie royale du Canada; french: GRC, label=none), often known as the Mounties, are the federal and national police service of Canada, providing law enforcement at the federal level. The ...

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
adopted a new standard influenced by the PEACE model. Sergeant Darren Carr, who trains police with the new approach, described it as "less
Kojak ''Kojak'' was an American action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now ) in the south and in the north. The service was fi ...
and more
Dr. Phil Phillip Calvin McGraw (born September 1, 1950), better known as Dr. Phil, is an American Celebrity, television personality, author, and the Television presenter, host of the television show ''Dr. Phil (talk show), Dr. Phil''. He holds a doct ...

Dr. Phil
". This approach eschews the use of deceptive information to overwhelm suspects. It emphasizes information gathering over eliciting confessions and discourages investigators from presuming a suspect's guilt.


See also

*
Loaded question A loaded question is a form of complex question that contains a controversial assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt A presumption of guilt is any presumption within the criminal justice system that a person is guilty of a crime, for exampl ...
*
Suggestive question A suggestive question is one that implies that a certain answer should be given in response, or falsely presents a presupposition in the question as accepted fact. Such a question distorts the memory thereby tricking the person into answering in a ...


References


Further reading

*


External links


"The Reid 9 Steps of Interrogation, in Brief"
with key points

by Julia Layton,
HowStuffWorks HowStuffWorks is an American commercial infotainment Infotainment (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage, usually made of leather and opening into two equal par ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:Reid technique Interrogation techniques Law enforcement in the United States Law enforcement in Canada