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The Reid Technique and false confessions

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

There are all kinds of methods the police use when they’re interrogating suspects, but one of the most popular methods is known as the Reid Technique.

While the Reid Technique has been used by police for years, it’s become increasingly controversial due to its potential for false confession.

How does the Reid Technique work?

The Reid Technique is based on the assumption that deceptive individuals exhibit specific behavioral cues that can be identified by skilled interrogators. It relies heavily on creating a high-pressure environment, isolating the suspect and presenting evidence to convince them of their guilt. This reliance on psychological pressure is one of the main problems with the Reid Technique because:

  • The confrontational nature of questioning a suspect can easily turn coercive. 
  • Suspects may feel compelled to confess simply to escape the stress of the situation, and the false promises of judicial leniency in return for a confession that the police offer can make it seem “safe” to make those confessions.
  • Confirmation bias is a problem since guilt is presumed at the outset. This can cause interrogators to interpret a suspect’s behavior as “deceptive” when they’re really “anxious.”

Critics of the Reid Technique say that there are serious ethical concerns about the method of interrogation, particularly when used on vulnerable individuals, such as juveniles and those with mental health issues or cognitive impairments.

Whether the police want to have a “friendly chat” or they’re openly looking at you as a suspect, the smart thing to do is seek legal guidance. You need someone to protect your rights so you don’t become the unwitting victim of a flawed investigation.


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