The electrical and optical properties of defects introduced by Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) in the near surface region of Si after dry etching with various gases and plasma conditions is studied with spreading Resistance (SR), photoluminescence (PL), and capacitance-voltage profiling (C-V). Plasma etching in chlorine and fluorine based gases produce donors at the surface in both n-type and p-type, Czochralski and float-zone silicon. Isochronal annealing reveals the presence of two distinct regions of dopant compensation. The surface damage region is confined to 1000 Å and survives heat treatment at 400°C, while the defect reaction region extends ≥ 1 μm in depth and recovers by 250°C. A comprehensive picture of the interstitial defect reactions in RIE silicon is completed. The interstitial defects, Ci and Bi, created in the ion damaged near surface region, undergo recombination enhanced diffusion caused by the presence of ultraviolet light in the plasma, resulting in the long range diffusion into the Si bulk. Subsequently, the interstitial atoms are trapped by the background impurities forming the defect pairs, CiOi, CSCi, or BiOi, which are observed experimentally. The depth of the diffusion-limited trapping and the probability of forming specific pairs depends on the relative concentrations of the reactants, oxygen, carbon or boron, present in the bulk material.