The Reid technique is a method of interrogation. The system was developed in the United States by John E. Reid in the 1950s. Reid was a polygraph expert and former Chicago police officer. The technique is known for creating a high pressure environment for the interviewee, followed by sympathy and offers of understanding and help, but only if a confession is forthcoming. Since its spread in the 1960s, it has been a mainstay of police procedure, especially in the United States.
Proponents of the Reid technique say it is useful in extracting information from otherwise unwilling suspects. Critics say the technique results in an unacceptably high rate of false confessions, especially from juveniles and the mentally impaired. Criticism has also been leveled in the opposite case—that against strong-willed interviewees, the technique causes them to stop talking and give no information whatsoever, rather than elicit lies that can be checked against for the guilty or exonerating details for the innocent.