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For the record

"Lie detector tests set to be introduced to monitor sex offenders" Image

"Lie detector tests set to be introduced to monitor sex offenders"

The Guardian and the Daily Mail reported on 2nd July that MPs will today debate introducing mandatory polygraph tests for sex offenders. This is in part based on a two year pilot by the Ministry of Justice. The polygraph tests are going to be used to tell if offenders have lied and breached the terms of their license and should be recalled to prison.

Dr Jamie Horder from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London put the articles in context:

“Polygraphs don't work - that's why they're not admissible in court. They can't accurately distinguish between people who are lying and people who are telling the truth. If they work at all it is by the deterrent effect, people are more likely to tell the truth if they believe that the machine will catch them lying. The Ministry of Justice pilot which is being used as evidence for this decision had many limitations."

Our guide Sense About Lie Detectors explains the technology of lie detectors. You can also read more concerns about the Ministry of Justice lie detector pilot in Dr Chris Tyler’s blog.

Document type: For The Record

Published: 2 July 2013

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