In the first half of the 20th century, the Reid technique became the go-to method for interrogating criminal suspects. John E. Reid, a psychologist, a polygraph expert and a former police officer, developed the process. Law enforcement in many areas may use the technique to secure a confession from suspects or otherwise find evidence of their guilt.
Those arrested for major crimes such as murder or manslaughter need to be careful about what they say and do during an interrogation. If the interrogators use the Reid technique during questioning, it is even more critical to be cautious.
How does the Reid technique work?
Law enforcement personnel create an extremely uncomfortable and high-pressure environment in which these interrogation techniques occur. Critics of the Reid technique warn that false confessions are more likely to arise in this high-pressure setting because the suspect wants to end the interrogation as quickly as possible. The interview method enables officers to put pressure on the suspect in many ways. Examples include:
- Directly confronting the suspect
- Offering an opportunity for the suspect to explain
- Helping the suspect justify his or her actions (leading to confession)
- Falsely sympathizing with the suspect to secure cooperation
- Outright lying to the suspect about implicating evidence
The Reid technique is one reason why people shouldn’t answer questions from law enforcement officers until they have an attorney present. The early interrogation stage of a major crime investigation is when you are most prone to inadvertently implicating yourself. Criminal defense attorneys dedicated to protecting Colorado residents accused of a crime can work to ensure that your rights remain protected.