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The Utility of Post-Conviction Polygraph Testing Among Sexual Offenders

Elliott, Elizabeth; V�llm, Birgit

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Elizabeth Elliott

Birgit V�llm


It is often difficult to ascertain the true extent and nature of sexually deviant behavior, as much relies on self-report or historic information. The polygraph has been proposed as a useful tool in the treatment and supervision of sex offenders. The current review aims to provide a coherent, objective, and recent synthesis of evaluation studies exploring the utility of the post-conviction polygraph (PCSOT) in the treatment and management of sexual offenders. This was assessed based on offense recidivism rates and disclosure; self-reported utility was also considered. Nineteen studies were identified from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands with no randomized controlled trials identified. Overall, there was a significant increase in relevant disclosures associated with the polygraph. The impact on reoffending rates was significant for violent but not sexual offenses. A number of methodological factors introduced the potential for bias in a significant number of studies reviewed in this review.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 24, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2016
Publication Date Oct 17, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 17, 2016
Journal Sexual Abuse
Print ISSN 1079-0632
Electronic ISSN 1573-286X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 4
Pages 367-392
Keywords Sexual offender assessment, Polygraph, Risk assessment, Disclosure, Recidivism
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sexual Abuse. The final authenticated version is available online at:


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