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


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.


Sex offender Treatment outcome Polygraph Sanction Community supervision 



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.


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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

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