Reid technique


Reid technique

The Reid Technique of interviewing and interrogation involves three different components -- factual analysis, interviewing, and interrogation. While each of these are separate and distinct procedures, they are interrelated in the sense that each serves to help eliminate innocent suspects during an investigation, thereby allowing the investigator to focus on the person most likely to be guilty and to interrogate that individual in an effort to learn the truth. Supporters argue the technique is useful in extracting information from otherwise unwilling suspects, while critics have charged the technique can elicit false confessions from innocent persons.The use of the Reid Technique is prohibited in Great Britain on youth because of the incidences of false confessions and the wrongful convictions that flow in resultFact|date=April 2008.

The term "Reid technique" is a registered trademark of the firm John E. Reid and Associates, which offers training courses in the method. The technique is widely used by law-enforcement agencies in North America.

Factual Analysis

Both an interview as well as an interrogation are facilitated by analysis of investigative findings. Proper factual analysis assists the investigator in the following ways:
*Eliminate improbable suspects
*Develop possible suspects or leads
*Increase confidence in identifying truthful or guilty suspects through the interview process
*Identify proper interrogation strategies

The Behavior Analysis Interview

The word "interview" refers to a non-accusatory question and answer session with a witness, victim or a suspect. In addition to standard investigative questions, structured "behavior provoking" questions are asked to elicit behavior symptoms of truth or deception from the person being interviewed. This structured procedure is referred to as a Behavior Analysis Interview or BAI.

Interrogation, on the other hand, is an accusatory process -- accusatory only in the sense that the investigator tells the suspect that there is no doubt as to his guilt. The interrogation is in the form of a monologue presented by the investigator, rather than a question and answer format.

The actual demeanor of the investigator during the course of an interrogation is understanding, patient, and non-demeaning. His goal is to make the suspect progressively more and more comfortable with acknowledging his guilt. This is accomplished by asking leading questions, whose answer/acceptance implies guilt on the part of the suspect.

The interrogation ends with an assumptive close in which the interrogator offers the suspect two alternate (but incriminating) explanations for his commission of the crime. One of the alternatives will be more socially acceptable to the suspect, based on his admissions during the BAI. Accepting either of the offered explanations proves guilt.

Many courts have held that the psychological pressure exerted during a Reid interrogation is profound (see Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 573 (U.S. 1961).) Effectively the interrogator, in an unrelenting manner, with the conclusion of guilt resolutely formed in his mind, will grind the suspect down, convince him or her that irrespective of their factual innocence, they are guilty.

The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation

The form of the interrogation is built around active persuasion by moral justification. The interrogator presents a monologue and discourages the suspect from denials or explanations. The interrogator progresses the suspect towards an admission by the use of alternative or contrasting questions, offering the suspect two choices, one of which is less morally challenging than the other. If the suspect acknowledges a choice the interrogation moves to non-leading questions to draw out the full confession. A critical part of the process is the development of information that will corroborate and substantiate the subject’s admission of guilt.

The identification of deceptive behaviors or symptoms in speech or body language is part of the Reid Technique. The use of lies, threats, leading questions or inducements by the interrogator is reported to be widely used as part of the Reid Technique. (see CBC link below)

* Step 1 - Direct Confrontation. Lead the suspect to understand that the evidence has led the police to the individual as a suspect. Offer the person an early opportunity to explain why the offence took place.

* Step 2 - 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 justify or excuse the crime. Themes may be developed or changed to find one to which the accused is most responsive.

* Step 3 - Never allow the suspect to deny guilt. Reid training video: "If you’ve let him talk and say the words ‘I didn’t do it’, and the more often a person says ‘I didn’t do it’, the more difficult it is to get a confession."

* Step 4 - 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 confession.

* Step 5 - Reinforce sincerity to ensure that the suspect is receptive.

* Step 6 - The suspect will become quieter and listen. Move the theme discussion towards offering alternatives. If the suspect cries at this point, infer guilt.

* Step 7 - 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.

* Step 8 - Lead the suspect to repeat the admission of guilt in front of witnesses.

* Step 9 - Document the suspect's admission and have him or her sign a confession.

Resisting Reid technique

The Reid technique works to the extent that the suspect aligns himself with the interrogator and accepts his explanations for the suspects motivations and actions.

To be successful the interrogator must:

# Establish and maintain control over the source and the interrogation.
# Establish and maintain rapport between the interrogator and the source.
# Manipulate the suspect's emotions and weaknesses to gain his willing cooperation.

Resistance therefore requires denying the interrogator control of the interrogation, preventing the interrogator from building rapport, and preventing any attempts at emotional manipulation. The suspect must maintain an attitude of detached hostility and skepticism at all times.

The Reid Technique has three main places of weakness. The initial announcement of guilt, the use of leading questions to obtain incremental agreement, and the assumptive close. Each of these can be challenged individually and all of them rely on the assumption that the interrogator is a credible source of information.

Attacking and denying the interrogators credibility serves several purposes. It reduces the interrogators ability to communicate, it disrupts the interrogation process, it creates a healthy state of opposition in the suspect that prevents internalization of the interrogators ideas, and it allows the suspect an outlet for anxiety and fear.

The initial opener can be challenged by denying guilt and forcing the interrogator to explain and justify his beliefs. Making personal questioning attacks on the interrogator's honesty and sincere intentions can quickly create a hostile atmosphere that is not conducive to successful interrogation.

Leading questions can be challenged on the premise that things that did not occur, and are speculative in nature. Consistently pointing out the speculative nature of statements/nature made by the interrogator and refusing to give personal opinions, prevents incremental agreement. Again creating opportunities to express skepticism and hostility to the interrogation process.

The assumptive close can be neutralised by preventing the creation of a "compliant atmosphere" and by pointing out that both forks of the question are invalid.

External links

* [http://www.reid.com John E. Reid and Associates]
* [http://www.law.wayne.edu/Faculty/Fac_web/moran/The%20REID%209%20STEPS%20OF%20INTERROGATION.htm The full 9 steps with key points]
* [http://people.howstuffworks.com/police-interrogation.htm HowStuffWorks, with lots of detail]


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