"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

How Police Interrogation Works

“In the criminal-justice system, nothing is more powerful than a confession. Decades of research on jury verdicts have demonstrated that no other form of evidence—not eyewitnesses, not a video record of the crime, not even DNA—is as convincing to a jury as a defendant who says “I did it.” The police, of course, understand the power of confessions and rely on interrogation techniques to produce them quickly so they can clear their cases. This is the stuff of countless TV procedurals—the small interrogation room with a bare table and two-way mirror; the good-cop-bad-cop routine; the deployment of outright lies like “You failed the polygraph” or “Your prints are on the knife.” As a society, we have come to view these as acceptable, if blunt, tools of justice. We count on the integrity of police and safeguards like Miranda rights to prevent abuses, and we take it on faith that innocent people would never confess to crimes they haven’t committed. “

“In 1962, Reid and his mentor, a Northwestern Law professor named Fred Inbau, co-wrote the first edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions. Criminologists and law historians credit their method with defining the culture of police-interrogation training for the past half-century. The procedure basically involves three stages meant to break down a suspect’s defenses and rebuild him as a confessor. First, the suspect is brought into custody and isolated from his familiar surroundings. This was the birth of the modern interrogation room. Next the interrogator lets the suspect know he’s guilty—that he knows it, the cops know it, and the interrogator doesn’t want to hear any lies. The interrogator then floats a theory of the case, which the manual calls a “theme.” The theme can be supported by evidence or testimony the investigator doesn’t really have. In the final stage, the interrogator cozies up to the subject and provides a way out. This is when the interrogator uses the technique known as “minimization”: telling the suspect he understands why he must have done it; that anyone else would understand, too; and that he will feel better if only he would confess. The interrogator is instructed to cut off all denials and instead float a menu of themes that explain why the suspect committed the crime—one bad, and one not so bad, but both incriminating, as in “Did you mean to do it, or was it an accident?” ” Link

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