The polygraph community, in conjunction with therapists
and probation/parole officers, has identified the following
types of tests to deal with areas of concern:
1) Instant Offense Disclosure - Specific
issue dealing with denial.
Sex offenders frequently deny or minimize their behavior
both about the index offense and past behaviors. According
to Trepper & Barrett (1989) there are four types of
denial commonly associated with sexual offenders:
|1) Denial of facts.
||3) Denial of responsibility.
|2) Denial of awareness.
||4) Denial of impact..
Polygraph can be useful in breaking down
the barrier of denial, especially regarding the denial of
facts about a
sexual crime. Often the question revolves around culpability
and taking responsibility for their behavior.
Denial of awareness
is frequently claimed with the offender maintaining he
was unaware of the age victim of his or that
he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at
the time of the crime. If deemed important, questions can
formulated to address specific awareness issues. For example, “Did
you know the victim was only 13 years old?” or “Do
you recall having sexual contact with your daughter?” can
be used in an effort to break through very specific denial
of awareness issues.
Denial of responsibility often involves
denial of specific facts and/or denial of awareness.
It is not uncommon for
an offender to maintain that he was duped into a sexual
encounter with a minor, had been mistakenly identified
as the offender, or was under the influence of a substance
at the time and did not realize what he was doing. Minimizing
the offensive act is also frequently used as a method
denying responsibility (i.e. I was only rubbing her back).
of impact usually is related to the minimization of damage
(physical and/or psychological) to the victim.
Confronting the denial of facts, awareness, and responsibility
can easily be addressed with a good polygrapher. Confronting
denial of impact may not be applicable to polygraphy.
2) Sexual History Disclosure – Issues
dealing with complete disclosure of sexual behavior and
The Sexual History Disclosure examination is utilized
to explore and extract from the sex offender their involvement
in sexual behavior. The sexual history information can be
helpful in facilitating treatment for the offender and assessing
risk factors. A guarantee of immunity from prosecution for
any offenses revealed during the Sexual History Disclosure
examination may be necessary for full participation by the
offender. Some clinicians involved with probationary polygraphs
have limited their Sexual History Disclosure examinations
to undisclosed victims rather than the client’s entire
sexual history (Wygant, 1996; Lundell, 1996).
This is largely
due in part to questions pertaining with an individual’s
overall behavior. The possibility of an offender withholding
relevant information regarding
undisclosed sexual paraphilias is great and therefore
the likelihood that a deceptive polygraph is very high.
to this fact, the instructors who teach the approved
Post Conviction Sex Offender Testing course agreed that
the preferred method would be to test on the issue dealing
with undisclosed victims versus undisclosed sexual behaviors.
3) Maintenance Testing – Compliance
issues dealing with probation and or treatment areas.
4) Monitoring Testing – Specific issues dealing with
new sex offenses.
The Maintenance Examination is utilized to monitor the
sex offender’s activities, behavior, and truthfulness
with treatment providers while on probation or parole. It
is generally administered every three to six months to ensure
offender compliance with conditions set forth by probation
and parole. Compliance with treatment conditions such as
requiring the offender does not associate with children,
view pornography, use of alcohol, illegal drugs and abstaining
from specific sexual behaviors can be effectively monitored.
multidisciplinary team approach is essential for the use
of the polygraph to be the most effective. The common
goal for this team approach is “NO NEW VICTIMS”.
In order to achieve this goal, it is important that there
is communication between probation/parole agents, law
enforcement agencies, therapists and the polygrapher is
order to maximize this benefit.
This team approach in the
state of Oregon has demonstrated a low rate of recidivism
and lower rate of probation/parole
revocations (Gindstaff, 1993). The pass or fail rate with
sexual maintenance testing is largely dependent upon the
persistence, intervention, and teamwork of the therapist
and probation officer.
Related Article: Inconclusive Polygraph Results-Why?