Some places in the UK are trying to push for just that.
According to the UK’s The Guardian, rapists and other serious sex offenders may be forced to submit to a lie detector test before being able to leave prison. The hope is the test may reduce the chance that they may become repeat offenders. The tests would monitor heart rate, brain activity and blood pressure of soon to be released or newly released sex offenders. The tests would only apply to the 750 most serious sex offenders in England who are currently out on a “license”. This “license” is roughly a contract between the sex offender and state.
UK officials hope the test will help:
- Sex offenders to be more honest with their “managers” or probation officers; officials state the tests provide probation officers with more information about potential risks that sex offender may pose.
- Sex offenders to disclose twice as much information then previously before, such as admitting when they have had contact with a victim.
- Sex offenders to manage their own behaviors more effectively
If a sex offender were found to have violated their license because of the lie detector tests, they would be sent back to prison. Upon leaving prison, sex offenders would still be subject to strict conditions like applying for the sex offender registry, as we all as, being subject to bans from certain areas and contact with certain people. The program currently allows around 750 people to be out on a license at any one time.
Currently the program is in its pilot stage. “The pilot schemes using lie detectors to manage offenders in the community have been a success. So now we’re looking at how it could be rolled out to provide probation officers with more information to manage the most serious offenders,” stated an unnamed source.
Currently, “low level” sex offenders in Hertfordshire have been subject to the test. So far, 15 people in Hertfordshire have been tested. Eight people have failed, six have passed and one person was found to have cheated by breathing erratically and talking slowly.
The tests have also held up in court. One offender took the case to the European Court of Human Rights stating it was a violation of their rights. The court ruled that the tests were not in violation of anyone’s rights and that it was a proportionate way of crime prevention.
Will sex offenders in the US soon be subject to lie detectors? That remains to be seen. However, if the tests keep yielding positive results in the UK the trend could soon spread across the ocean.