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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Should sex offenders face lie detectors?
Lie detector test
New technologies may be used to ensure those released from jail are not breaking the terms of their release.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said that satellite tracking could be used to monitor paedophiles and lie detector tests could help decide when sex offenders can be placed under less intensive supervision.

Satellite tracing could also be used for non-violent minor offenders where jail terms would lead to prison overcrowding.

Do you think these devices should be used? Do you think there are civil liberty issues to consider? Send us your views.


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

The benefits far outweigh the risks
Mark Leigh, England
Only those with something to hide need be in fear and, as their behaviour is both deplorable and unacceptable to society, I think the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Mark Leigh, England

More to the point should sex offenders be made pay for their crime the rest of their lives? Time served. Let them move on. If they are a danger to re-offend then keep them incarcerated.
Smyth, Canada

Build more prisons and keep them locked up - and that goes for all the other criminals too.
Stephen, South Wales

I work in offender assessment and therefore public protection. If you don't do whatever is possible to protect the public how do you face up to the victims or their families? I'd rather err on the side of caution than have to do that.
TB, Notts

If they're that reliable, why don't we test them on politicians first to make sure?
Simon, UK

If they ever are proved to be 100% accurate then they should be used on all criminals
Jonny C, UK

No, simply because (as others have pointed out)they are not infallible, just lock the most dangerous offenders ones up for good. That's a far better deterrent IMO. If they ever are proved to be 100% accurate then they should be used on all criminals. If you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear from a 'big brother' state!
Jonny C, UK

Yet more evidence of a Police State. These people have been convicted and served their sentences. Why does the punishment extend? Perhaps motorists should all be fitted with GPS locators in case they speed in their vehicles.
Andy Bishop, London UK

How about Politicians taking lie-detector tests & Satellite Tracking for our tax dollars?!?
David Stephen Ball-Romney, Seattle, USA

People forget that lie-detectors have been deployed by some insurance companies. Why should not we extend this to help reduce crime and to make our Country a safer place??
Paolo S, Berkshire England

Why don't we just assume everyone in the country is guilty of something and lock everyone up
T Harrington, Herts

In fact, why don't we just assume everyone in the country is guilty of something and lock everyone up. Mr Blunkett is leading us down the road to a police state.
T Harrington, Herts

Lie detectors, satellite monitoring, electronic tags... Don't you think that it would be far less complex and much safer if we kept these criminals behind the bars for the rest of their lives?
Pathon, UK

I think the more serious sex offenders should be tagged and have lie detectors but I also think that rapists and burglers and armed robbers should get the same
David Kendall United Kingdom

With Blunket I am daily expecting the legalising of beating confessions out of suspects. This is yet more on the road to such a nanny state.
James SG , London, England

I would be horrified if the 'truth' became something deduced only by vocal stress-patterns and sweat levels
Christopher Hatton, Essex, UK
I think we can immediately discount the lie detector idea as a dangerous joke; I would be horrified if the 'truth' became something deduced only by vocal stress-patterns and sweat levels. As for tracking, I am in agreement with Martin, UK, why is this proposal limited to sex offenders? I don't consider violent crime to be less severe just because it isn't sexually motivated.
Christopher Hatton, Essex, UK

Lie detectors? Absolutely not. Theyt are wrong in 10%-15% of cases. They give false positives as well as false negatives.
Steve Bates-Armytage, Cambridge, England

As much as I hate to say it, I disagree with these measures. If we allow 'Big Brother' to watch one of us, how long will it be before 'he' is watching all of us?
Barry Q, Sunny Devon

Satellite tracking - why not? It may be a better way of depriving criminals of their liberty than prison. Lie detectors - NO. They are too unreliable, too easily 'fooled'.
Chris B, Crewe, UK

There's a profound, and deeply worrying shift in our so-called democracy
Rick, Somerset
We're way past the "thin edge of the wedge"; we can already be tracked through our mobiles. Perhaps our telephone conversations are already scanned for "lies"... There's a profound, and deeply worrying shift in our so-called democracy. We're led to believe it's for our own good. So were the Germans in the 30's.
Rick, Somerset

I regret to state that there is "no" such thing (at this time) as a reliable lie detector. Sex offenders should be monitored on release, but it would be unwise to rely on a machine proven to fail at the task it was designed for.
Duncan, Gloucester, England

I don't have a problem with this. Ultimately, we need to find a way to release people once they have served their time, whilst protecting the public at the same time.
Mark, Birmingham

Satellite tracking? Seems just a touch extreme, but I need to know more details of its implementation before judging it. As for using lie detectors - no! Those things are little better than guesswork. They are not reliable enough to make any decision about people who may have a lifelong history of deception and denial.
Graeme P. Bell, Tring, UK

This, ID cards and a DNA database are all slowly stealing our right to privacy. So we agree that it should be used on sex offenders; small jump to petty criminals, finally everyone.
Lyndsey, Plymouth, UK

Sadly, long term custodial sentences are the only answer in these cases
Ollie, UK
I have worked in the rehabilitation of sex offenders. In my experience there are two categories. Firstly, the 'one time' criminal, who commits the crime once out of interest, and never does so again. Secondly, the 'career' offender...just because we know where they are won't stop them offending. Sadly, long term custodial sentences are the only answer in these cases, in order to protect the public.
Ollie, UK

Is this some sort of joke? A politician endorsing the use of lie detectors is like a turkey looking forward to Christmas. The day my MP agrees to answer questions under the gaze of a lie detector will be followed by hell freezing over. Tracking? Yes, a better idea, but locking them up I would pay more tax gladly.
Andrew G, Midlands, UK

The use of lie detectors will lead to inaccurate data and total confusion, they cannot be trusted even as an indicator because people can 'program' themselves to believe their own lies so that the body responds as if the person is telling the truth. A person can also confuse the test and make it void by reacting as if everything is a lie.
Joe, Oxford, England

Anything to save the cost of building the prisons we desperately need and release more potential killers into 'care in the community'. You don't need satellite tracking to know the whereabouts of a sex offender who is safely behind bars.
Phil, Liverpool

Why not implant chips on everyone? That way Blunkett can make even law abiding citizens his slaves.
Richard, UK

Why limit this to sex offenders?
Martin, England
Sex offenders who have been found guilty of violating children's civil liberties should have no complaints when society chooses to protect itself from them in future. Satellite tracking should also be rigorously applied to repeat offenders and career criminals. First time offenders should also be tracked for a period of time upon release. Why limit this to sex offenders when all law abiding people would benefit from a more widespread application?
Martin, England

No they shouldn't be forced to use a lie detector. This is not a fair way to decide whether they should be supervised less. All sex offenders should be carefully monitored when released, although I'd happily pay more taxes to keep them all locked up forever.
Caitlin, South London




SEE ALSO:
Sex offenders may face lie tests
28 May 04  |  Politics
Sex law changes imminent
15 Oct 03  |  UK
Q&A: Keeping safe on the net
12 Jan 04  |  Technology


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