Advertisement

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 381–393 | Cite as

Outcomes in a Community Sex Offender Treatment Program: A Comparison Between Polygraphed and Matched Non-polygraphed Offenders

  • Robert J. McGrath
  • Georgia F. Cumming
  • Stephen E. Hoke
  • Marcel O. Bonn-Miller
Original Article

Abstract

This study compared a group of 104 adult male sex offenders who received community cognitive-behavioral treatment, correctional supervision, and periodic polygraph compliance exams with a matched group of 104 sex offenders who received the same type of treatment and supervision services but no polygraph exams. Polygraph exams focused on whether participants were following their conditions of community supervision and treatment and had avoided committing new sexual offenses. The two groups were exact pair-wise matched on three variables: (1) Static-99 risk score (Hanson & Thornton 2000, Law and Human Behavior, 24, 119–136), (2) status as a completer of prison sex offender treatment, and (3) date placed in the community. At fixed 5-year follow-up periods, the number of individuals in the polygraph group charged with committing a new non-sexual violent offense was significantly lower than in the no polygraph group (2.9% versus 11.5%). However, there were no significant between-group differences for the number of individuals charged for new sexual (5.8% versus 6.7%), any sexual or violent (8.7% versus 16.3%), or any criminal offense (39.4% versus 34.6%). The results are discussed in terms of their clinical and research implications.

Keywords

Sex offender Treatment outcome Polygraph Sanction Community supervision 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank William Murphy, Maia Christopher, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments; and Tammy Smith for research support. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Vermont Department of Corrections.

References

  1. Abrams, S., & Abrams, J. (1993). Polygraph testing of the pedophile. Portland, OR: Ryan Gwinner Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ahlmeyer, S., Heil, P., McKee, B., & English, K. (2000). The impact of polygraph on admissions of victims and offenses in adult sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 12, 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Polygraph Association (1995). Standards for post conviction sex offender testing: Practice guideline. Chattanooga, TN: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2007). The psychology of criminal conduct (4th Ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Aos, S., Miller, M., & Drake, E. (2006). Evidence-based adult corrections programs: What works and what does not. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.Google Scholar
  6. Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (2005). Practice standards and guidelines for the evaluation, treatment, and management of adult male sexual abusers. Beaverton, OR: Author.Google Scholar
  7. Branaman, T. F., & Gallagher, S. N. (2005). Polygraph testing in sex offender treatment: A review of limitations. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 23, 45–64.Google Scholar
  8. Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (2004). Standards and guidelines for the assessment, evaluation, treatment and behavioral monitoring of adult sex offenders. Denver, CO: Author.Google Scholar
  9. Cross, T. P., & Saxe, L. (2001). Polygraph testing and sexual abuse: The lure of the magic lasso. Child Maltreatment, 6, 195–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cumming, G. F., & McGrath, R. J. (2000). External supervision: How can it increase the effectiveness of relapse prevention. In D. R. Laws, S. M. Hudson & T. Ward (Eds.), Remaking relapse prevention with sex offenders (pp. 236–253). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. English, K., Pullen, S., & Jones, L. (1997). Managing adult sex offenders in the community: A containment approach. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  12. Friendship, C., & Thornton, D. (2001). Sexual reconviction for sexual offenders discharged from prison in England and Wales: Implications for evaluating treatment. British Journal of Criminology, 41, 285–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gannon, T. A., Beech, A. R., & Ward, T. (in press). Does the polygraph lead to better prediction for sexual offenders? Aggression and Violence Behavior.Google Scholar
  14. Gendreau, P. (1996). The principles of effective intervention with offenders. In A. T. Hartland (Ed.), Choosing correctional options that work (pp. 117–130). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Gendreau, P., Goggin, C., Cullen, F. T., & Andrews, D. A. (2001). The effects of community sanctions and incarceration on recidivism. In L. L. Montiuk & R. C. Serin (Eds.), Compendium 2000 on effective correctional programming: Vol. 1 (pp. 18–21). Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada.Google Scholar
  16. Gordon, A., Harris, A., Murphy, W., Seto, M., Hanson, R. K., Marques, J. K., et al. (1998). Collaborative data base of sex offender treatment outcome. Beaverton, OR: Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, July.Google Scholar
  17. Grubin, D., Madsen, L., Parsons, S., Sosnowski, D., & Warberg, B. (2004). A prospective study of the impact of polygraphy on high-risk behaviors in adult sex offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 16, 209–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hanson, R. K. (1997). The development of a brief screening scale for sexual offense recidivism. Ottawa: Solicitor General of Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Hanson, R. K. (2006). What works: The principles of effective interventions with offenders. Presentation at the 25th Annual Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  20. Hanson, R. K., & Morton-Bourgon, K. (2005). The characteristics of persistent sexual offenders: A meta-analysis of recidivism studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 1154–1163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hanson, R. K., & Thornton, D. (2000). Improving risk assessment for sex offenders: A comparison of three actuarial scales. Law and Human Behavior, 24, 119–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harris, A., Phenix, A., Hanson, K., & Thornton, D. (2003). Static-99 coding rules. Ottawa: Department of the Solicitor General of Canada.Google Scholar
  23. Harris, G. T., Rice, M. E., & Cormier, C. A. (2002). Prospective replication of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide in predicting violent recidivism among forensic patients. Law and Human Behavior, 26, 377–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heil, P., Ahlmeyer, S., & Simmons, D. (2003). Crossover sexual offenses. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 15, 221–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hindman, J., & Peters, J. M. (2001). Polygraph testing leads to better understanding adult and juvenile sex offenders. Federal Probation, 65(3), 8–15.Google Scholar
  26. Kelly, A. E. (2000) Helping construct desirable identities: A self-preservational view of psychotherapy. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 476–494.Google Scholar
  27. Kokish, R. (2003). The current role of post-conviction sex offender polygraph testing in sex offender treatment. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 12, 175–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mann, R. E., Webster, S. D., Schofield, C., & Marshall, W. L. (2004). Approach versus avoidance goals in relapse prevention with sex offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 16, 65–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marshall, W. L. (2005). Therapist style in sexual offender treatment: Influence of indices of change. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 17, 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McGrath, R. J. (Ed.) (1995). Vermont clinical practices guide for the assessment and treatment of adult sex offenders. Williston, VT: Vermont Center for Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Abuse.Google Scholar
  31. McGrath, R. J., Cumming, G. F., & Burchard, B. L. (2003a). Current practices and trends in sexual abuser management: The Safer Society 2002 nationwide survey. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.Google Scholar
  32. McGrath, R. J., Cumming, G., Livingston, J. A., & Hoke, S. E. (2003b). Outcome of a treatment program for adult sex offenders: From prison to community. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McGrath, R. J., & Hoke, S. E. (2001). Vermont assessment of sex offender risk manual. Middlebury, VT: Author.Google Scholar
  34. McGrath, R. J., Hoke, S. E., & Vojtisek, J. E. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of sex offenders: A treatment comparison and long-term follow-up study. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 25, 203–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. National Academies of Sciences (2003). The polygraph and lie detection. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  36. Pullen, S. (1997). Using the polygraph. In K. English, S. Pullen, & L. Jones (Eds.), Managing adult sex offenders in the community: A containment approach (pp. 15.3–15.6). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  37. Raskin, D. C., & Honts, C. R. (2001). The comparison question test. In A. Gale (Ed.), Handbook of polygraph testing (pp. 1–47). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  38. Stalans, L. J. (2004). Adult sex offenders on community supervision: A review of recent assessment strategies and treatment. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 31, 564–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment (2006). Rules and regulations relating to council on sex offender treatment. Austin, TX: Author.Google Scholar
  40. Turk, D. C., & Salovey, P. (Eds.) (1988). Reasoning, inference, and judgment in clinical psychology. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  41. United States Census Bureau (2007). United States Census. [Online] Available: http://www.census.gov.
  42. Wilcox, D. T. (2000). Application of the clinical polygraph examination to the assessment, treatment and monitoring of sex offenders. The Journal of Sexual Aggression, 5, 134–152.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. McGrath
    • 1
  • Georgia F. Cumming
    • 2
  • Stephen E. Hoke
    • 3
  • Marcel O. Bonn-Miller
    • 4
  1. 1.Vermont Department of CorrectionsMiddleburyUSA
  2. 2.Vermont Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Sexual AbuseBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Vermont Department of CorrectionsMiddleburyUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations