Why giving polygraph tests to sex offenders is a terrible idea | Prof Chris French

Friday, August 10, 2012 - 02:00 in Psychology & Sociology

Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable and easy to fool, and sooner or later sex offenders will discover the truth about themIt was recently announced that the government is keen to introduce mandatory polygraph testing for rapists and other serious sex offenders when they are released from prison, in the hope that this will reduce re-offending rates and thus protect the public. A pilot study has been carried out in the East and West Midlands suggesting that the routine use of such testing would lead to offenders being more honest with their offender managers: those undergoing polygraph testing made twice as many "clinically significant disclosures" as a control sample. CSDs were defined as "new information that the offender discloses, which leads to a change in how they are managed, supervised, or risk assessed, or to a change in the treatment intervention that they receive." Examples include disclosures relating to increased access to...

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