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Midterm

Midterm 2 (Units 4-6).docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3020
Professor
Dan Yarmey

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Chapter 3 The Psychology of Police InvestigationsKey investigative tasks where psychology is relevant the collection and evaluation of investigative information info often obtained from suspects investigative decision making especially decisions that require an indepth understanding of criminal behaviourPolice InterrogationsConfession evidence is often viewed as a prosecutors most potent weapon and police officers will often go to great lengths to secure such evidence In some countries people may be convicted solely on the basis of their confession although in North America a confession usually has to be backed up by some other form of evidenceRegardless of whether corroborative evidence is required it is likely that people who confess to a crime are more likely to be prosecuted and convicted than those who do not Two goals of a police interrogation process whereby the police interview a suspect for the purpose of gathering evidence and obtaining a confession include 1 Gaining information from the suspect that furthers the investigation such as the location of important evidence 2 Obtaining a confession Being interrogated by the police for the purpose of extracting a confession is often considered to be inherently cohesive There is no question that police interrogations were coercive in the past Police tactics in the thmid20 century for example when whipping was occasionally used to obtain confessions Brown v Mississippi or the recent episode in the 1980s where NYC police jolted a suspect with a stun gun Overt acts of physical coercion have become much less frequent with time and have been replaced with more subtle psychologically based interrogation techniques such as lying about evidence promising lenient treatment and implying threats to loved onesLeading authorities in the field of interrogation training openly state that because offenders are typically reluctant to confess they must often be tricked into doing soBox 31The Mr Big Technique o The Mr Big Technique is a noncustodial procedure that happens outside of the interrogation roomo According to Smith et al 2009 the procedure generally involves undercover police officers who pose as members of a criminal organization and attempt to lure the suspect into the gang eg by showing the suspect how lucrative it can beo Often the suspect is made to commit some minor crimes for which he can be rewarded and once committed to the organization the suspect is interviewed for a higher level job However before the suspect can seal the deal with the boss Mr Big he must confess to a serious crime the one under investigation o According to the researchers one of several reasons is given to the suspect for why he needs to confess as a form of insurance for the criminal gang so they have something on the suspect is he ever turns against them so that Mr Big can draw on his purported influence and connections to make the evidence or problem disappear or both Once the confession is elicited it is used against the suspect in his trialo This technique is very effective It has a 75 success rate and a 95 conviction rate Ex the Mayerthorpe RCMP murders by James Roszkoo This technique raises some ethical and legal questions According to Smith et al this is not entrapmento Because this technique is designed to elicit a confession regarding an event that occurred before the operation started and not for criminal activity during the undercover operation this type of sting operation falls outside of the Canadian definition for entrapment This technique has been approved by the Canadian courtsThe Reid Model of Interrogation o Police officers in England and Wales are trained using interrogation techniques that are far less coercive than those in North America since the courts in England have recognized some of the potential problems associated with these practices such as false confessions o The most common interrogation training program offered in North American police officers is based on a book written by Inbau et al 2004 called Criminal Interrogation and Confessions Within this manual the authors describe the nowfamous Reid model nine step model of interrogation used frequently in NA to extract confessions from suspects of interrogation a technique originally developed by John E Reid a polygrapher from Chicago o At a general level the Reid model consists of a threepart process1 The first stage is to gather evidence related to the crime and to interview witnesses and victims2 The second stage is to conduct a nonaccusatorial interview of the suspect to assess any evidence of deception ie to determine whether the suspect is lying when he or she claims to be innocent3 The third stage is to conduct an accusatorial interrogation of the suspect if he or she is perceived to be guilty in which a ninestep procedure is implemented with the primary objective to secure a confessiono The ninestep procedure in stage three consists of the following steps 1 The suspect is immediately confronted with his or her guilt If the police do not have any evidence against the suspect at this time then the interrogator can hide this fact and if necessary pretend that such evidence exists2 Psychological themes are then developed that allow the suspect to justify rationalize or excuse the crime For example a suspected rapist may be told that the victim must have been asking for it 3 The interrogator interrupts any statements of denial by the suspect to ensure the suspect does not get the upper hand in the interrogation 4 The interrogator overcomes the suspects objections to the charges to a point at which the suspect becomes quiet and withdrawn5 Once the suspect has become withdrawn the interrogator ensures that the suspect does not tune out of the interrogation by reducing the psychological distance between the interrogator and the suspect such as by physically moving closer to the suspect6 The interrogator then exhibits sympathy and understanding and the suspect is urged to come clean For example the interrogator might try to appeal to the suspects sense of decency7 The suspect is offered facesaving explanations for the crime which makes selfincrimination easier to achieve 8 Once the suspect accepts responsibility for the crime typically by agreeing with one of the facesaving explanations the interrogator develops this admission into a full confession9 Finally the interrogator gets the suspect to write and sign a full confessiono Other suggestions to effectively interrogate suspects use a plainly decorated room to avoid distractions have the evidence folder in hand when beginning the interrogation make sure the suspect is in the room alone before the interrogator enters the room o The Reid Model of Interrogation is based on the idea that suspects do not confess to crimes they have committed because they fear the potential consequences that await them if they do Their fear of the potential consequences is not sufficiently outweighed by their internal feelings of anxiety associated with remaining deceptive The goal of the Reid model is to reverse this state of affairs by making the consequences of confessing more desirableby using psychologically based techniques such as the minimization and maximization techniques For example appealing to ones sense of morality can sometimes increase anxiety associated with deception o Techniques used in this model can be broken down into two general categories These categories are often referred to by different names including friendly and unfriendly techniques Mutt and Jeff techniques and minimization and maximization techniqueso Minimization techniques refer to soft sell tactics used by police interrogators that are designed to lull the suspect into a false sense of security These tactics include the use of sympathy excuses and justificationthe victim had it coming he did them a favour by shooting the victim o Maximization techniques refer to scare tactics that interrogators often use to intimidate a suspect believed to be guilty This intimidation is typically achieved by exaggerating the seriousness of the offence and by making false claims about evidence the police supposedly have Ex references to the nonexistent security videotape and eyewitnessesThe Use of the Reid Model in Actual Interrogation o Kassin et al found that results on a survey indicated that many of the techniques included in the Reid model of interrogation are used in actual police interrogations although the frequency of use varied Interrogators almost always used techniques such as isolating suspects from friends and family and trying to establish rapport with suspects to gain their trust Other common but less frequently used techniques included confronting suspects with their guilt and appealing to their selfinterest Less common but sometimes used were techniques such as providing justifications for the crime and implying or pretending to have evidence Very rare were instances of threatening the suspect with consequences for not cooperating and physically intimidating These findings may be biased due to the selfreport measure that was used o Leo King and Snook conducted a more objective analysis with 44 videotaped interrogationsThe results indicate that Canadian interrogators do not strictly follow the components of the Reid Model Very few coercive strategies were observed although a reasonable number of suspects were not read their rights to silence and legal counsel could have occurred before interrogation started The number of Reid techniques used did relate to interrogation outcomes with more confessions being given when interrogations contained a greater proportion of Reid techniques However this result does not necessarily
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