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NCJ Number: 221886 Find in a Library
Title: Does the Polygraph Lead to Better Risk Prediction for Sexual Offenders?
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:January-February 2008  Pages:29-44
Author(s): Theresa A. Gannon; Anthony R. Beech; Tony Ward
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 16
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review provides a basic overview of current risk assessment procedure in the absence of the polygraph, and investigates studies that use the polygraph to enhance sexual offenders’ risk assessments.
Abstract: This review begins with a description of current methods of risk assessment used to apportion supervision resources, highlight treatment needs, and monitor risk in the community. There are three main assessments that, when used together, cover personal traits, historical variables, contextual antecedents, and clinical factors that are examined in a comprehensive assessment of sexual offender risk. These three assessments are functional assessments, statistical or actuarial methods, and clinically informed methods. The review found actuarial methods to be most effective at predicting generic group risk, while clinically guided assessments provide a comprehensive overview of individual risk for treatment and community surveillance. However, all the assessments are reliant on self-report information provided either directly or indirectly by the offender. The authors provide a review of empirical evidence on polygraph-assisted risk assessment to answer the question of whether an external apparatus in the form of the polygraph can be used to gain a more coherent account of sexual offender risk. Based on the research presented, the polygraph appears to substantially increase disclosures of both historical risk factors and acute-dynamic risk factors. Limitations of the polygraph research are discussed, including the limits of the dominant research design which uses the naturalistic treatment setting to assess the polygraph’s capabilities. Recommendations for future research are discussed. References
Main Term(s): Sexual assault
Index Term(s): Aggression; Criminality prediction; Dangerousness; Polygraph reliability; Psychiatric services; Sex offender treatment; Treatment
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