Police Interrogation and Social Control

Vol. 3, Social and Legal Studies, 1994

28 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2008

See all articles by Richard A. Leo

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law


This article analyzes contemporary interrogation practices as one example of the changing character of formal control in policing. The article examines how police employ techniques of influence to generate compliance with their requests. The author argues that police power is exercised affirmatively to control behavior during interrogation. Rather than relying on force or the threat of punishment, police commonly use subtle and sophisticated psychological methods of influence (conditioning, persuasion, deception, neutralization, and normalization) to elicit inculpatory admissions.

Keywords: Criminal procedure, criminal justice, law enforcement, interrogation techniques

Suggested Citation

Leo, Richard A., Police Interrogation and Social Control. Vol. 3, Social and Legal Studies, 1994, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141372

Richard A. Leo (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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