Book Review of the Use of the Polygraph in Assessing, Treating and Supervising Sex Offenders - a Practitioner's Guide

By Kumar, J. Sasi | International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, July-December 2009 | Go to article overview

Book Review of the Use of the Polygraph in Assessing, Treating and Supervising Sex Offenders - a Practitioner's Guide


Kumar, J. Sasi, International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences


Book Review of the use of the polygraph in assessing, treating and supervising sex offenders - a practitioner's guide Daniel T. Wilcox (Ed.), (2009). The Use of the Polygraph in Assessing, Treating and Supervising Sex Offenders: A Practitioner's Guide (Wiley Series in Psychology of Crime, Policing and Law). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. 332 pp, ISBN 987-0-470- 74223-5.

Globally, sexual offences are a threat not only to the society but also a big challenge to the criminal justice systems. Due to the growth of various technologies like internet, mobile and wireless, sexual offences have spread its ugly tentacles. Various new forms of sexual offences have emerged. This emergence of new forms of sexual offences is not mitigated much, as the conviction rates of such offences are comparatively less than their occurrences. In the court of law, there is a need to produce strong evidence against sexual offences. Also in these types of offences there is a less possibility to collect evidence against the suspects. The contemporary developments of multifarious truth finding technologies such as narco analysis, polygraphs and DNA fingerprinting and profiling show some promise in detecting the sexual offences.

Interviewing and interrogation plays a vital role in finding the facts during police investigation. Traditional police personnel use third degree methods to get authentic information from the offenders. Extracting confession by third degree methods are human rights violation and sometimes it leads to false conviction and the real offender escapes the clutches of laws. In these instances, polygraph examination comes in handy for the assistance of the modern law enforcement agencies. The polygraph examination will clearly show the true or deceptive nature of confessions or statements of the offenders. Though polygraph is not recognized as an investigative/evidence tool by many juridical systems, it is significantly of use in certain cases. The edited volume by Daniel T. Wilcox is an effort to highlight the importance of polygraph in assessing, treating and supervising sexual offenders.

This book describes three types of evaluation such as sexual history (SH), maintenance and monitoring examinations and specific issue (SI) examination in the polygraph examination. All are representing the pre-treatment, during treatment and post treatment (evaluation of treatment). The advantages of polygraph are emphasized in this book by several studies supporting the post convictions polygraph examination. The author(s) have either focused on the examination or assessment of the offenders. The author(s) have examined the advantages of several types of post conviction polygraph examination that are used at different times and stages of treatment and supervision. The author(s) of the book chapters have provided empirical studies which are conducted with control groups. The studies show the value of polygraph examination in the treatment of sexual offenders. The author(s) strongly explained the sexual disclosure examination, specific issues test and maintenance and monitoring examination with the evidence from the questionnaire studies. The author(s) assists the reader to understand the usage of polygraph by placement of various case examples and the comparison studies of polygraph examination with presentence report. In a study, they have mentioned the variation in identifying sexual offences (against child and adults) in pre-sentence and polygraph examination is 7% to 70%.

In this book, the author(s) mostly covers the use of the polygraph examination on post conviction in sexual offending which including treatment to the offenders and reduce the sexual crime rate. The author(s) not only cover the polygraph device on detection of the deception but they also cover the other devices such as Voice Stress Analysis (VSA), Thermal Imaging (TI), Pupillometry etc; for detection of deception. In this book the author(s) have not only listed out the sexual interests, behaviors and the risk factors of the sexual offenders, but also placed the techniques to identify these factors through polygraph examination. …

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