Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Interrogation Process

Interrogation Process


The criminal justice system faces critical tests relating to decisions being made by police, investigators and law enforcement officers. The question as to whether to convict or free a suspect under police custody entirely depends on the nature of evidence and how the facts are presented in court. However, before this, an elaborate system is used to question potential suspects and witnesses to a scene of crime in order to reduce instances of unlawful conviction. This depends on investigative techniques and processes that investigators use to obtain critical information or evidence which may lead to dismissal before full trial.

A cross examination and interrogation process therefore sets the stage of evidence gathering where a suspect is put before an interrogator to try unearth substantial evidence that may be used against him or her. In criminal terms, interrogation refers to the process where there is controlled questioning of potential suspects to a crime by a law enforcement officer or an interrogator with the aim of obtaining or gathering potential evidence, while connecting the suspect to crime despite continued denial and objection on the same (Lord & Cowan, 2011). The interrogation follows some set processes that, however may take other forms depending on the interrogator.

Phase 1:

The process starts by an interrogator presenting incriminating accusation against the suspect to a crime by presenting some evidence. In this process, the interrogator presents possible evidences to the suspect connecting him/her to the crime committed. He or she connects the suspect with the crime, in order to ascertain whether the suspect committed the crime or has information that can lead to arrests. In this stage, the interrogator controls the interrogation process in order to obtain any substantial information, directly incriminating the suspect, which may lead to revelation of sensitive information critical to the process of establishing charges.

Phase 2:

This phase comprises evaluating a suspect’s behavior, composure and developing themes to assist in revealing what is known by the suspect in relation to the crime. In this stage, the main thing is theme development. This is basically the act of offering moral support by trying to convince the suspect to reveal what they are aware of and relates to the crime. In this, the investigator may use one or more techniques to compel a suspect to reveal information. The interrogator may project reduced severity of the crime in order to fabricate a soft ground that is tempting and may lead to exposure by the suspect. It is a communication strategy aimed at luring the suspect to reveal any hidden information in regards to a crime. The stage is important since it can lead to confessions which can be critical in an investigation, and subsequent incrimination of the suspect to the crime in question.

Phase 3:

In phase three, there is continued persuasion of the suspect in cases where there is stubbornness and denial by the latter to having been involved or commitment of  a crime. In any given criminal process, denial is usually evident where a suspect denies having being involved in some crime. The stage involves the interrogator continually persuading the suspect to revealing anything they are aware of in connection with the crime. It is critical for the interrogator to be sure of information or response provided by the suspect in order to make a sound judgment.

Phase 4:

The stage entails obtaining factual information from the victim in relation to continued denial to committing crime, and to ascertain the truthfulness in the objections or denial to having been involved in the crime. Information is critical in the criminal justice system since it helps convict a suspect to direct involvement in a crime. Hence, this phase is critical and the interrogator should make necessary observations that could give leads to incriminating the suspect with possible crime, or withdrawal of the same. The suspect could intentionally conceal information which may be critical in the investigation.


During this stage, the interrogator tries to gain confidence of the suspect and influence him in order to obtain clues and evidence. The result may be passive withdrawal, a condition whereby the suspect continues to answer an interrogator’s question, or refusal to adhere to an interrogator’s techniques of seeking information. This stage is very critical since evidence may be concealed if persuasion does not bear fruit. In most cases, a law enforcement officer may find it hard to continue with the interrogation process hence the need to re-capture the suspect’s attention towards the issue at hand. There could be some element of frustration, however the interrogator should capitalize on the situation. In many cases, during interrogation, it is important to side with the suspect by approaching softly in the matter, say, in terms of tone, getting close to the suspect, back tapping to re-capture their attention as much as possible.

Phase 6:

The purpose herein is to develop additional themes and alternate interrogation techniques to reveal possible evidence. Themes in criminal procedures play an important role. In the developed world, criminological theories are used to deeply analyze the suspect’s behavior attributing a given deviance behavior. In this, lack of proper themes by the interrogator could be a major cause of interrogation failure given that the tendency/probability of the suspect revealing information depends on extent to which a theme is developed. For instance, in one of the theme approaches, an interrogator may appear to reduce the gravity of the crime while offering leniency, as a device to obtain information from the suspect. In cases where strategic use of theme development is made, there is high likelihood of the first signs of portrayal of guilt by the suspect. In this case, the interrogator should be aware of all verbal signs and suspect’s composure, a sign of willingness to share certain information regarding the crime committed.

Phase 7:

In this stage, the effort is towards continued sustenance of confession in order to obtain the most credible evidence that can be used in a court of justice. This is only done after determination and validity of the evidence being recorded. This is mainly to ensure that given facts are enough to incriminate the suspect being interrogated. The interrogator needs to ensure that there is continued conversation with the suspect, as a strategy, to help gather as much information as possible from the suspect. At this stage, the interrogator develops different interpretations of the crime in order for the same to be valid in a court of justice. It is important that appropriate evidence be gathered from the suspect as vague evidence will weaken the case. However, the interrogator must also be aware of false confessions that can be made primarily due to pressure, resulting from psychological issues that the suspect could be facing at that critical point. It is therefore important for the interrogator to develop necessary job skills involved to help reveal possible lies and contradictions during the interrogation.

Phase 8:

Confession is important in the interrogation process. It is basically an acknowledgment by a suspect to be aware of or being involved in crime (Grano, 1996). This is because it determines the nature of evidence that can be used during criminal proceedings in a court. Hence, in order to succeed in the trial process, there is need for the law enforcement officer interrogating the suspect to ensure that the facts and information obtained are properly safeguarded. The interrogator can approach this in two ways. Firstly, he/she may use a tape recorder to record all discussions made in the interrogation room. This will help in information analysis and evidence substantiation by the defense team to help develop a strong case which can survive possible objections. Secondly, the interrogator may do a narrative of the same on a piece of paper. This will help him/her analyze facts gathered during the interrogation, a critical aspect in the interrogation process.

Interrogation happens to be one of the important processes in the criminal justice system. This is because evidence being gathered in the process is crucial to the defense team, and that the possibility of incriminating a suspect in regards to a crime solely lies on the quality of evidence, facts and other useful information gathered during the process. In addition to this, the process is also important to suspects given that one of the functions of the criminal justice system is to provide justice to all concerned parties. In this, interrogation acts as a sieve to detect, isolate and nail the suspects in a crime. This will ensure that only the guilty are convicted of in a court of law.



Grano, J. D. (1996). Confessions, truth, and the law. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Lord, V. B., & Cowan, A. D. (2011). Interviewing in criminal justice: Victims, witnesses, clients, and suspects. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.