Clarifying Misrepresentations About Interrogation Techniques (updated May 2023)

Written By: Joseph P. Buckley
May 19, 2023

Over the years social psychologists, defenses attorneys, and some academicians have
offered a number of criticisms of current law enforcement interrogation practices, and, in
particular, the Reid Technique. Some of these criticisms are:

  • the goal of an interrogation is to get a confession whether it is true or not
  • the interrogation is designed to make the suspect feel isolated and hopeless so that he sees no way out except to confess
  • the Reid Technique is a guilt-presumptive approach
  • investigators use minimization tactics in which they offer the suspect leniency if he confesses and harsher punishment (maximization) if he does not
  • investigators oftentimes interrogate innocent people whom they have erroneously
    classified as guilty
  • investigators use coercive tactics and procedures to secure confessions
  • investigators feed crime details to the suspect so that the authenticity of their incriminating statements is difficult to assess
  • investigators lie to the suspect about evidence
  • investigators do not modify their tactics when questioning juveniles or mentally impaired individuals

In this paper, we will address each of these criticisms and set the record straight as to exactly what we teach concerning interrogation techniques, particularly the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation.

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Clarifying updated May 2023 (445.837 KB)
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