Justice and legal system solutions
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Depending on the country, justice systems may differ in terminology but normally follow the same goal: Imparting justice, imparting fair trials.
Common and Civil law systems rule in most of the western civilization. There are singularities among these justice philosophies, yet, time has shown that both will eventually arrive at the same conclusion.
That is why forensic psychophysiology has been able to find its way into the different justice systems, common and civil. It has become an indispensable tool for many actors in the sector. Law enforcement, the court system, and even corrections are nowadays using polygraph examiners to help them impart better and just decisions.
We will try to give an overview of the applications of polygraph tests in the justice system and the reason behind their employment.
Justice and Law enforcement
Law enforcement was the first branch of the justice system to embrace polygraph. Pioneer policemen who learned about scientific detection of deception devices started experimenting with different types of equipment. John Augustus Larson, a police officer at Berkeley actually invented the first polygraph instrument. Leonarde Keeler who worked with John Larson as a police officer in Berkeley later improved the instrument.
Almost a century has passed since John Larson created the first lie detector instrument in 1921. Technology has evolved but even more the techniques employed for testing for veracity. That is why police departments and law enforcement agencies, in general, have been using lie detection examiners in an array of fields.
The first and definitely most used application is in the vetting process of new police officers. A thorough background check will be completed on the candidates and they most certainly will have to undergo a pre-employment polygraph. This procedure is common use in most of the police departments in the US and countries in Latin America like Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and growing.
Some police departments or organizations also submit their officers to routine checks making sure they are following the organization´s policies.
Not only does law enforcement use detection of deception or validation of information in Human Resources but they also require this technique during internal or external investigations. Whenever an officer is under suspicion of having committed an unlawful or unethical act, he might be offered the possibility to undergo a test.
Police detectives might also offer suspects of felonies, crimes to submit to a polygraph. This is normal procedure in departments where they have their own police polygraphists or outsource to trusted examiners.
So we could summarize the application of this technique in law enforcement to the following cases:
- Human resources (Selection, recruitment, and maintenance of police forces)
- Investigations (Internal and External)
Prosecution vs. Defense / Plaintiff vs. Defendant
The increment of regulations and legislation have contributed to an increased litigious society. Although a majority of lawsuits are founded, many abuse the system by cheating or misleading in their accusations.
Deception is the worst enemy to a fair judgment since the information the sentence is based upon is flawed.
That is why the parts, in some cases, agree to undergo truth verification tests to confirm statements. If there is a previous agreement on the parts to the test, judges will normally accept the outcome.
Especially in cases where there is no other method to find physical proof a polygraph test might be the solution to help to obtain a fair ruling.
Example of cases:
- Domestic violence without physical proof or witnesses
- Sexual harassment accusations
- Sexual abuse allegations
- Rape charges
- False accusations
- Criminal behavior
- Criminal negligence
- Statement verification (Proof of truth)
- Witness statement verification
If you need to know if this might be the option you are looking for, please contact us directly.
Justice is as life itself, full of surprises. Cases are rarely identical and judges are sometimes put in difficult situations where their decisions are based on information they cannot always trust.
Behavioral analysis has become an active tool for many judges and definitely for juries. In cases where a law suit might be stuck due to lack of confidence in witness testimony, a polygraph test might be a tool that can help the judge reinforce their opinion.
Also in cases of behavior based felonies or crimes, like for example robberies due to drug addiction or sexual abuse judges might impose a follow-up treatment after the release of an ex-detainee. Justice uses forensic psychophysiologists as part of the containment team.
For more information on how forensic psychophysiology can help in court rulings please contact B.E.A.R..
Finally, corrections are the third branch of justice that has embraced polygraph examiners. Many states in the US are enforcing Post Conviction Sex Offender Treatment Programs, also know as PCSOT.
In the United Kingdom, after an initial pilot test run between 2009 and 2011, in July 2013 legislation was introduced to implement mandatory polygraph testing for post-custodial sexual offenders.
These programs have been running for more than a decade in the US and have proven to help decrease the risk of re-offense.
Ex detainees on probation or convicts on parole participate voluntarily in these programs to help in their rehabilitation.
For more information on PCSOT programs please contact B.E.A.R. FORENSICS.