“The goal is to turn questioners into the equivalent of human lie detectors who can read behavioral tics to determine guilt. It begins with the isolation of the suspect. Kassin explained that a Reid-trained officer will typically go through nine steps, offering the suspect both positive and negative incentives. The goal of the interrogation, according to Reid & Associates, is to increase the suspect’s anxiety associated with denial and decrease the anxiety associated with confessing.

“‘Basically make it easier psychologically to confess than to deny involvement,’ he said. ‘And you do that with the carrot and the stick — both the maximizing techniques that scare the suspects into submission and minimizing techniques that seem to offer a palatable way out.’”

– There is no universal method of interrogating someone, but a private company called John E. Reid & Associates has trained clients in both the private and public sectors on how to do so. Chester Soria revisits the infamous Central Park Five case, and examines false confessions and NYPD interrogation tactics at the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. See more stories about interrogations.


Photo by: Krystian Olszanski

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.