P1: FMN/FFB P2: FNN
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] PL101-172 March 15, 2000 21:58 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2000
The Impact of Polygraphy on Admissions of Victims
and Offenses in Adult Sexual Offenders
and Kim English
Sexual offenders are extremely reluctant to disclose their offending histories for
a variety of psychosocial and legal reasons. The polygraph has shown promise
as a intervention for eliciting admissions of past sexual offending behaviors. For
60 adult male sexual offender (35 inmates and 25 parolees), the number of victims
and offenses were recorded from the Presentence Investigative Report, Sexual His-
tory Disclosure form, and 2 consecutive polygraph examination reports. Dramatic
increases in the number of admitted victims and offenses were found for inmates,
but not for parolees, across each source. However, there was a substantial decline
in the number of victim and offense admissions by the second polygraph examina-
tion for both groups, even though 80% of the examination results reveled deception
about sexual offending behaviors. Standardized use of sanctions and privileges for
deceptive and nondeceptive polygraph results, respectively, are proposed as a way
of eliciting full disclosure of offending histories for these offenders.
KEY WORDS: polygraph; admissions; deception; sanctions.
Over the last 25 years, the criminal justice system has witnessed a steady
increase in the use of polygraph testing in adult sexual offenders for deterring
reoffending behaviors (Abrams, 1989, 1991; Abrams & Ogard, 1986; Edson,
1991; English, Pullen, & Jones, 1996), overcoming denial of offending behav-
iors (Abrams, 1992; Priest & Smith, 1992), and verifying compliance with parole
supervision conditions (Matte, 1996). Sexual offenders are extremely reluctant to
disclose their offending histories for a variety of psychosocial and legal reasons
Colorado Department of Corrections, 2862 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906;
Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.
To whom correspondence should be addressed.
2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation