The United Kingdom government has announced that it will run a three-year pilot of mandatory polygraph testing on offenders convicted of domestic abuse. The polygraph examinations will be used as one of the key elements to monitor offenders identified as having a high risk of reoffending, often against the same victim. Offenders who are released on license and are identified as a serious risk of reoffending will be required to undergo regular polygraph tests to monitor their behavior and protect future potential victims.
The pilot scheme will be run in four Probation Service areas for an initial period of three years. Independent evaluation of the pilot will be conducted by The Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, and their findings will be published and laid before parliament. If the pilot is deemed successful, the project will be rolled out to all areas of England and Wales.
Qualified Probation Officers who have experience in the management of domestic abuse offenders will and are being recruited to undergo formal polygraph training.
The real value of the polygraph process in managing sex offenders, of which over 5,000 tests have been conducted to date, has been proven by the offenders themselves in as much as in 2/3 of those tested made what are described as “significant disclosures.” The management of domestic abuse offenders released on license will be modeled using the experience gained during the years of Post Conviction Sex Offender Testing (PCSOT). The test will be a mandatory condition of their license, and the first test will be conducted around the three-month period after release.
Although the supervised offender cannot be returned to prison solely for failing a polygraph test, they can be returned to prison (recalled) for making disclosures in the pre-test interview that disclose that they have breached other license conditions. The information gathered in the process will be shared with the police, who may then conduct further investigations.