The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation®/ Criminal Interrogation and Confession, Fourth Edition

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The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation®

The Advanced Reid Technique® Program

John E. Reid and Associates, Inc. 1-800-255-5747 or 1-312-876-1600

It is a sad truth that sometimes people do bad things. In general, they are not too quick to admit this. This is true whether it is a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar, or a suspected criminal.

John Reid and Associates have been leaders in developing interviewing techniques to help (along with case facts) in isolating those who might be guilty, and of then getting them to confess. The techniques are appropriate for both custodial and non-custodial situations, which is to say they are appropriate for both law enforcement and the private sector. The rate of success using the Reid technique is high.

While they do have a book on the subject, discussed below, as with most things, the best way to learn is from the people who do it, and the three day course, followed by the one day advanced course, is the ideal way to either refine your existing skills or pick up the base-set of skills to start.

It is important to note that interviewing and interrogation are somewhat different skills, and that, while some may be good at both, it is quite possible that any given individual may, for some reason or another, be unsuited for either or both.

One of the major concerns expressed throughout the course was a concern with somehow getting an innocent person to confess (Primarily likely with children, those with severe psychological problems, or the markedly less- intelligent. Interviewing is likely to be appropriate even with these, albeit with great care, but interrogation is likely to be totally inappropriate.) An additional concern was that nothing either illegal or coercive could be done: It is important that the subject, even in a custodial situation, must have the opportunity to eat and drink when appropriate, use the bathroom as is reasonable, and rest as appropriate. And benefits for telling the truth must not imply either leniency or avoiding possible consequences.

Note that while the term interrogation conjures up visions of the Gestapo torturing confessions from captives, or turn of the century cops using bright lights and rubber hoses, in fact, in the Reid system, it is a tool for determining the truth, rather than forcing a confession. Thus, while a guilty person might be given a rationalization for admitting guilt, an innocent person (save, perhaps, to protect a guilty loved-one) is unlikely to confess under this system. To take a clear example, if you, gentle reader, had molested your baby grand- daughter, you would likely be looking for some way to justify the action in your own mind, and the interrogator could use this. On the other hand, there is nothing the interrogator could say that would convince you, an innocent grandparent, to falsely admit to molesting your beloved grand-daughter. Because of this, clearing the innocent is as acceptable and desired a result as is getting the guilty to confess.

The courses are extremely well prepared, the training materials are professionally done, and the instructors are knowledgeable, competent, experienced, and well prepared. You come away with information, a structured approach to interviewing and interrogation, and even an attractive pad of forms to help structure what you will be doing when dealing with suspects. Your level of success in obtaining good and defensible confessions from the guilty will go up.

If you are involved in the area of interviewing people about possible crimes, we consider the Reid Technique to be in the must-have category.

Criminal Interrogation and Confession, Fourth Edition

Fred Inbau, John Reid, Joseph Buckley, Brian Jayne ISBN 0-8342-1775-9 656 pages $64

While there are many advantages to a course, a book – particularly a book this thick – has the ability to include a tremendous amount of detail that you might well miss in a class. You can think of it as the course notes you would have taken if you were in the-best-of-all-possible worlds. In addition, a book can include material ancillary to the class, and this book includes sections on giving testimony relating to the use of these techniques, as well as sections on the legal issues surrounding interrogation and confession.

The book covers some issues in greater depth than does the course, and this editor came away with a better understanding of how appropriate non- accusatory interviewing can not only help you identify the innocent (a concern and priority), but allow you to move naturally into interrogation without the subject walking out or invoking his Miranda rights in a custodial situation.

If you have taken the training we would advise reading this book. If you are an experienced interviewer or interrogator who has not taken the training, we would also advise your reading this book. If you are an innocent person, with circumstantial evidence pointing at you, trapped in a criminal justice system ill-equipped to deal with the innocent, hope your investigator has been trained by Reid.

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