Reid technique

From Academic Kids

The Reid technique is an interrogation method. 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 term Reid technique is a registered trademark of John E. Reid and Associates, a group who offers three- to four-day training courses in the method. The technique is widely used by law-enforcement agencies in North America.

The style of a Reid technique interview is fairly fluid, but has a number of defining structures. The interrogations are held in a controlled, bright but low-intensity environment offering constant concealed scrutiny, with only one interrogator. The process begins with a short non-accusatory interview by another person, with questions designed to direct the subject's thinking and also provide information for the investigator in the main or accusatory interrogation. There is a break of around ten minutes between the interview and the 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. Actively blocking the suspect from denial is part of the process. 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. The identification of deceptive behaviours or symptoms in speech or body language are part of the Reid technique tool-kit. The use of lies, threats, leading questions or inducements by the interrogator is not a sanctioned part of the Reid technique.

Often the initial confession can be extracted with surprising rapidity. With a recalcitrant interviewee the interrogation will be divided up, allowing the suspect short periods alone between longer intensive periods of interrogation.


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