- Criminal Confessions, which debuts Sunday, October 1 at 7pm ET/PT, reveals what happens inside the interrogation room. The new series delves into actual police interrogations and shows the interplay between law enforcement and suspects. Here are five interrogation techniques that actual officers use to get confessions from murderers.
First used in 1974, Reid technique is a style of questioning that includes nine stages of questioning including: direct confrontation. shifting the blame away from the suspect to some other person or circumstances, reinforce sincerity and posing the “alternative question"; given two choices for what happened in the crime committed. Some argue that this method leads of false confessions.
A technique used in countries like England, Newfoundland, Wales, Denmark and New Zealand is called PEACE: Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure and Evaluate. In this technique, the line of questioning is more direct. As NPR explains, PEACE is more similar to interviewing in the way journalists do. It's to gather information rather than seek a flat-out confession.
Good Cop/Bad Cop
Anyone who's seen a crime drama or cop show knows about the famous "good cop/bad cop" line of interrogation. In this, one law enforcement agent serves as the "good cop" and sympathizes with the suspect. The other serves as the strict and aggressive "bad cop." The hope is that the suspect loosens up around the former and confesses.
Interrogation isn't just conducted at precincts. The U.S. military uses a wide array of interrogation in peace and wartime. The pride-and-ego technique is used towards prisoners to encourage cooperation by playing upon emotions. This is done by attacking the suspect's loyalty, intelligence and self worth in order to ascertain information.
Sometimes a lie is more powerful than the truth. Deception can be used effectively in interrogation. The interrogator can lying about the strength of the case or make statements that imply that the suspect has already been implicated by someone else, such as a witness or accomplice. The court case of Frazier v. Cupp in 1969 upheld the legality of deception in interrogation.