Sex Offenders to Undergo Lie Detector Tests

Government set to roll out nationwide scheme after pilot proves success.

Sex Offenders to Undergo Lie Detector TestsFlickr/ Creative Common

Sex offenders and rapists across England and Wales will soon be forced to undergo a compulsory lie detector test when leaving jail, according to new plans from ministers.

The plans are coming into play after a successful pilot scheme that took place between April 2009 and October 2011 in the east and west Midlands.

The results of the pilot study indicate that sex offenders give more honest and better information when they undergo polygraph tests.

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During the pilot scheme, it was found that offenders attached to a polygraph machine reveal double the amount of information that they otherwise would - and a lie detector is more likely to elicit a confession from the offender if they have contacted their victim, or entered an exclusion zone.

Some sex offenders have even admitted that the lie detector test is helpful for them in managing their own behaviour.

Impact

The government is currently drawing up a viable, nationwide plan to roll out the lie detector test in the management of offenders.

"It's vital that we protect the public from serious sex offenders. That's why the conditions after they leave prison need to be both strict and rigorously enforced. The pilot schemes using lie detectors to manage offenders in the community have been a success," a Downing Street source was quoted by the BBC.

"So now we're looking at how [the pilot scheme] could be rolled out to provide probation officers with more information to manage the most serious sex offenders," the Downing Street source added.

The implementation plans are still in the early stages and could be brought into force soon.

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Once the plans are finalised and implemented, the polygraph test result could change the terms of an offender's release, and may even keep certain offenders in prison.

Out of Britain's 3,000 registered sex offenders, 750 are considered to fall into the most serious category.

Polygraph tests generally monitor a person's heart rate, brain activity and blood pressure in order to find out whether he or she is telling the truth.

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