The Reid Technique – Celebrating 70 Years of Excellence

Founded in 1947, the Reid Technique has become the gold standard for proper interview and interrogation procedures.

Our Core Principles are as follows:

  • Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts
  • Do not make any promises of leniency
  • Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
  • Do not deny the subject any of their rights
  • Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs
  • Always treat the subject with dignity and respect
John Reid pioneered the Non-Confrontational approach to investigative interviewing by introducing the concept of conducting a non-confrontational investigative interview with every subject (see 1967 Criminal Interrogation and Confessions). This interview should be conducted with every subject in the investigation without any challenge, judgment, or accusation. Investigators only confront the guilty subject after a thorough investigation supported by evidence developed in the case.

Reid Technique procedures are accepted by the Courts

Reid Technique has built-in protections for the innocent

Favorably referenced in two US Supreme Court decisions

The Reid Technique is the most efficient means available by which to eliminate the innocent and to identify the guilty

False confessions are generally the result of investigators engaging in improper behaviors (threats, promises of leniency, denial of rights, etc.) – behaviors we teach not to do

Courts reject the suggestion that the Reid Technique causes false confessions

Courts reject expert opinions that the Reid Technique is in any way coercive

A few observations from the Courts:

US v Jacques:

“Although Professor Hirsch insisted ‘there is a wealth of information about the risks of the Reid Technique,’ he could point to none.”

Shelby v. State:

“Considering the evidence favorable to the trial court's decision and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, the trial court did not err in concluding that the totality of the circumstances show that Shelby's statement to the police [using the Reid Technique] was given voluntarily.”

State of New Jersey in the Interest of A.W.:

The Supreme Court of New Jersey upheld the admissibility of a confession from a juvenile who was interrogated by investigators using the Reid Technique, stating that, "although it is certainly true that juveniles are more susceptible to having their wills overborne by adult authority figures, there is no evidence in this record that the interview techniques deprived A.W. of any of his rights or overbore his will."

People v Gallo:

The court rejected the effort to suppress the confession, stating that the interrogator "used a technique [Reid Technique] he learned in his police training, and his use of it followed what the courts have deemed to be permissible."

US v. Senior Airman John S. Freeman, US Air Force:

In reviewing the investigator's interrogation techniques (which he had identified as the Reid Technique) which elicited an incriminating statement from Freeman, the Court found that "We find no basis to conclude that the AFOSI overbore the appellant's will in eliciting the incriminating statement.”

State v. Myers:

The Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld the admissibility of a confession by investigators utilizing The Reid Technique

R v. Oickle

The Canada Supreme Court: "There is nothing problematic or objectionable about police, when questioning suspects, in downplaying or minimizing the moral culpability of their alleged criminal activity (theme development in the Reid Technique). I find there was nothing improper in these and other similar transcript examples where [the detective] minimized [the accused’s] moral responsibility.”

US v. Preston:

In reviewing the confession of “an intellectually disabled eighteen-year-old,” the court pointed out that the investigators did not follow the Reid guidelines regarding the questioning of such an individual. “The officers, however, sometimes disregarded the manual's cautions about the tactics they used.”

People v. Elias:

In this case the Appeals court pointed out several prescribed Reid procedures that were not followed by the investigator, resulting in a confession that was found to be involuntary.