Polygraph test for sex offenders

Press Office

Pioneering research into the increased disclosures made by sex offenders using polygraph testing is being adopted nationwide.

Following a two year pilot polygraph scheme, researchers from the Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP) found overwhelming evidence to suggest that sex offenders supervised in the pilot polygraph scheme made more disclosures about their risk.

Professor Theresa Gannon, Director of CORE-FP, said her team’s  research evaluation had resulted in a change to how sex offenders are supervised nationally. The research findings clearly showed that the polygraph increases communication between sex offenders and probation staff.

Sex offenders taking part in the pilot project made more disclosures about entering an exclusion zone or making contact with children than sex offenders supervised under normal probation conditions.

The research also found that the polygraph pilot was effective for a whole range of sex offenders, and perhaps most significantly, sex offenders themselves reported finding the polygraph useful for helping them to manage their behaviour in the future.’

The pilot polygraph scheme, led by Kent researchers Dr Theresa Gannon and Dr Jane Wood, took place across the East and West Midlands probation areas from April 2009 to October 2011.

The Kent research team successfully tendered to evaluate the pilot scheme for sex offenders for the Ministry of Justice over a two-year period. The other members of the CORE-FP team were: Dr Afroditi Pina, Dr Eduardo Vasquez and Professor Iain Fraser of the School of Economics.

For more information contact: Katie Newton