The Reid Interrogation Technique and False Confessions: A Time for Change
Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Forthcoming
43 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2017 Last revised: 20 Aug 2017
Date Written: May 14, 2017
The Reid Interrogation technique has been the dominant method used by police in the United States and Canada to interview suspects of crime. This method is commercially marketed to police departments and other law enforcement agencies with the promise that 80 percent of those interrogated will confess. However, there is growing evidence that the Reid technique results in a significant number of false confessions, especially among the young, the mentally impaired and those of low intelligence. Other countries, especially England have rejected the Reid technique in favor of other methods that work equally well in obtaining confessions but without the risk of false confessions. In the United States, too, there is growing suspicion of the Reid technique and other hard interrogation tactics such as those employed in interrogating suspected terrorists at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
This paper suggests that widespread use of the Reid technique is a significant contributing factor in public distrust of the police, and fosters police attitudes that feed that dissatisfaction. Rejection of the Reid technique in favor of other methods is likely to improve police efficiency as well as help heal the growing rift between police personnel and the communities they serve.
This paper has been accepted for publication in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice.
Keywords: Reid Technique, Reid Method, Police Interrogation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation