The Genesis of the Non-Confrontational Interview

Written By: Reid
May 18, 2017

The Genesis of the Non-Confrontational Interview

John E. Reid and his colleague, Northwestern Professor of Law Fred E. Inbau, developed the non-confrontational interview as an integral part of any questioning of a suspect.

The following excerpts are from the second edition of their book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, published in 1967 (the first edition was published in 1962 but was revised after the US Supreme Court’s 1966 decision, Miranda v. Arizona).

When discussing how to approach and question a subject regarding possible involvement in the commission of the crime under investigation, the authors recommend that the investigator “assume a neutral position and refrain from making any statement or implications one way or the other until the subject discloses some information or indications pointing either to his innocence or his guilt.”

In conducting this non-confrontational interview the authors state, “The subject must be questioned and engaged in conversation in order to permit the [investigator] to study his behavior and conduct, to search for significant remarks or contradictions in his statements, and to check his statements in the light of known facts and circumstances.”

Reid and Inbau suggest that the following questions should be part of this interview:

· Ask the subject if he knows why he is being questioned

· Ask the subject to relate all he knows about the occurrence, the victim, and possible suspects

· Obtain from the subject detailed information about his activities before, at the time of, and after the occurrence in question

· Ask the subject if he ever thought about committing the offense in question or one similar to it

· Ask the subject whether he is willing to take a lie-detector test

These guidelines and questions developed into what is today an integral part of the Reid Technique - the Behavior Analysis Interview.

In all investigations we teach to conduct a non-accusatory, non-confrontational Behavior Analysis Interview with each subject to determine whether or not an interrogation is appropriate.

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