A Technique Used to Extract True (and False) Confessions

The “Reid Technique” has been used to extract true and false confessions from suspects in police custody. When an unredacted FBI manual on interogation techniques was mistakenly released to the Library of Congress in 2013, it was revealed that the FBI used the “Reid Technique.” Most if not all American and Arkansas law enforcement organizations employ the specific technique, or a similar one, to extract confessions. Proponents of the technique argue it is the most efficient system to extract real confessions, while opponents cite “false confessions” as a major issue.

Either way, the test is directly designed for the purpose of manipulating a person. This is the basic format of the test. You can read more about the specific manipulative lessons for each step.

Step 1 – Direct confrontation. Lead the suspect to understand that the evidence has led the police to the individual as a suspect. Offer the person an early opportunity to explain why the offense took place.
Step 2 – Try to shift the blame away from the suspect to some other person or set of circumstances that prompted the suspect to commit the crime. That is, develop themes containing reasons that will justify or excuse the crime. Themes may be developed or changed to find one to which the accused is most responsive.
Step 3 – Try to discourage the suspect from denying his or her guilt. Reid training video: “If you’ve let him talk and say the words ‘I didn’t do it’[…]the more difficult it is to get a confession.”[citation needed]
Step 4 – At this point, the accused will often give a reason why he or she did not or could not commit the crime. Try to use this to move towards the confession.
Step 5 – Reinforce sincerity to ensure that the suspect is receptive.
Step 6 – The suspect will become quieter and listen. Move the theme discussion towards offering alternatives. If the suspect cries at this point, infer guilt.
Step 7 – Pose the “alternative question”, giving two choices for what happened; one more socially acceptable than the other. The suspect is expected to choose the easier option but whichever alternative the suspect chooses, guilt is admitted. There is always a third option which is to maintain that they did not commit the crime.
Step 8 – Lead the suspect to repeat the admission of guilt in front of witnesses and develop corroborating information to establish the validity of the confession.
Step 9 – Document the suspect’s admission or confession and have him or her prepare a recorded statement (audio, video or written).

Attributable to Wikipedia Creative Commons

So, in conclusion, this is just ONE reason why a suspect should not talk to the police without their attorney present. They are trained to incriminate you, and sometimes officers will go beyond what the technique even calls for. Many times innocent people are drug through long, expensive trials to prove their innocent because where overcome with emotion and either gave a false confession or inaccurate information in the heat of the moment. Speak to the police with your attorney.