False confessions are a significant problem in the justice system. In recent years, DNA and non-DNA evidence have overturned many convictions, revealing that the police might have induced false confessions.
Interview techniques like police interrogation tactics are among the leading factors contributing to suspects’ false confessions. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what happens during interrogations and engage in self-damaging behaviors such as confessing to crimes they did not commit.
The following are interrogation techniques used by police and how they can lead to false confessions.
Getting an individual to confess to a crime is difficult, so some interrogations can last for hours. During this time, the individual becomes overwhelmed with fear and stress. That said, depriving the person of water, food, light and other necessities during the lengthy interrogations can affect their capacity to think clearly and wisely. This can lead to a false confession, where the individual will confess to a crime just to end the uncomfortable situation.
The Reid technique
The Reid technique allows the interrogating officer to elicit confessions from a suspect they believe is guilty. Regrettably, this technique allows the officer to practice deception; for example, the interrogating officer can make up evidence, which then puts more pressure on the suspect, increasing their anxiety, regardless of whether they are guilty or not.
In other cases, police officers might use interrogation tactics that lead to a coerced-internalized confession. During the initial stages of the interrogation, the accused person knows they are innocent; however, due to the constant suggestions, they may believe they committed the crime.
Suggestibility is the psychological construct in this case. And since some people, especially those who are more vulnerable, have difficulty resisting suggestions, they incorporate them into their memory of the event in question, leading to a false confession.
Police interrogations are usually intimidating, whether you are innocent or guilty. However, you can protect yourself during an interrogation by staying silent and seeking legal guidance. This will prevent the interrogating officers from using unethical interrogation techniques to force a false confession out of you.