On Monday, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, one of the biggest consulting groups responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the country, announced that it would no longer use the Reid Technique, the leading interrogation method used by law enforcement throughout the country.
Since it was introduced around 70 years ago, the Reid Technique has led to countless confessions. Alarmingly, as wrongful conviction cases in the past 25 years have shown, not all of those confessions were legitimate. Thirty percent of the people exonerated by DNA in the United States falsely confessed to crimes they didn’t commit. The total number of people who’ve confessed to crimes they did not commit is unknown.
In light of these exoneration cases, in recent years, criminal justice experts have closely examined the Reid Technique and found that its tactics rely overly on deception, coercion and aggressive confrontation to secure confessions. On Monday, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates expressed that the technique poses far too great a risk to continue to use as a training tool.
“Confrontation is not an effective way of getting truthful information,” said Shane Sturman, CEO of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates to the Marshall Project. “This was a big move for us, but it’s a decision that’s been coming for quite some time. More and more of our law enforcement clients have asked us to remove it from their training based on all the academic research showing other interrogation styles to be much less risky.”
False confessions expert Saul Kassin said to the Marshall Project, “What Wicklander-Zulawski has realized is that once you start down the road of using trickery and deception, the misuses are inherent in that. There are no clear lines of, ‘This is a good amount of trickery, and this isn’t.’ ”
Read the Marshall Project’s entire story here.