The Nine Steps of Interrogation

1. Confront the suspect with assertions of his or her guilt.

2. Develop “themes” that appear to justify or excuse the crime.

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3. Interrupt all statements of innocence and denial.

4. Overcome all of the suspect’s objections to the charges.

5. Keep the increasingly passive suspect from tuning out.

6. Show sympathy and understanding and urge the suspect to tell all.

7. Offer the suspect a face-saving explanation for his or her guilty action.

8. Get the suspect to recount the details of the crime.

9. Convert that statement into a full written confession.


A second approach is to befriend the suspect, offer sympathy and friendly advice, and “minimize” the offense by offering face-saving excuses or blaming the victim. Under stress, feeling trapped, lulled into a false sense of security, and led to expect leniency, many suspects agree to give a confession. This approach is carefully designed to increase the anxiety associated with denial and reduce the anxiety associated with confession. It may sound like interrogation process springs from a Law & Order TV script, but in real life these tactics are routinely used

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