The Reid technique is a method of interrogating suspects in a crime. It is used by many police forces around the world and is particularly popular in the United States. The technique was created by a man named John E. Reid, and his company sells videos and other training materials teaching people the particularities of how to properly use it. This method, which relies on assuming absolute guilt from the very beginning of the interrogation process, has critics who believe that it causes people to confess when they aren’t actually guilty. It’s been banned in some countries for this reason and is often the subject of major controversy.
In the beginning of an interrogation, an individual using the Reid technique will start by going through a long explanation of exactly why the suspect is guilty. This is typically done in a very nice and friendly way. The interrogator goes to great lengths to avoid being interrupted by the suspect and tries to forestall any denials.
The next step is normally to start giving the suspect an "out" of some kind. For example, in a murder case, the interrogator might envision a scenario where the murder almost seems justified. A police officer using the Reid technique may even seem to sympathize with the suspect’s hypothetical motives. At the same time, they will generally offer contrasting possible motives that are much worse so that the suspect is more likely to jump on the less incriminating possibility.
People trained to resist the Reid technique will usually try to maintain an atmosphere of total confrontation from the beginning. The person under suspicion doesn’t want to fall into the trap of believing that the interrogator is his or her friend. The general idea is to challenge any assertions and immediately turn everything into an argument. In some cases, it’s even recommended that the person under interrogation should personally insult the interrogator so that the atmosphere turns as hostile as possible.
Some say the Reid technique is an unjust way to interrogate people. It’s been blamed for many false confessions, especially among juveniles and those with mental handicaps. There are also plenty of people who favor the technique, and they generally stress the fact that it’s only used when investigators are nearly certain that the person being questioned is guilty. In fact, according to some sources, the first and most important step in the Reid technique is to establish a strong suspect by investigating the crime thoroughly and ruling out all other possibilities.