In a bid for parole Tracey Connelly who was incarcerated in 2009 has offered to take a polygraph test to ‘prove’ she won’t reoffend if released. In ordinary circumstances we would volunteer to conduct a lie detector test in Durham where she is currently serving her sentence. However, one test will not be sufficient as we will explain.
Who is Tracey Connelly?
For those not familiar with who Connelly is, she is the mother of ‘Baby P’ (Peter Connelly). On 3rd August 2007 the toddler died in his home in Tottenham as a result of sustained violence inflicted upon him by Connelly’s partner, Steven Barker. He was just 17 months old at the time of his death. To say that the police, social services and medical staff failed this little boy is an understatement.
In an 8 month period the toddler sustained over 50 injuries. At the hands of Connelly, her partner and Jason Owen (the brother of Steven Barker) this child was subjected to the most appalling violence and abuse. It included choking him to the point of turning him blue; terrifying him by inciting a pet Rottweiler to attack him and breaking his ribs and back. The latter injuries were found post mortem. All three of the monsters were jailed for “causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable person”. The full details of the case can be access by click on this Wikipedia link.
Considering the ways in which they tortured this small child it is quite astonishing to learn that a parole board saw fit to release Connelly in 2013 from her “minimum 5 year sentence” that she received in 2009. However she was returned to jail in 2015 having breached the conditions of her parole. Now 4 years later she is seeking parole again.
Lie detector test in Durham
For prisoners such as Connelly there is every possibility that compulsory polygraph tests could be imposed as a condition of any future release. However, her offer to take a test to prove she won’t reoffend is pointless. She would very likely pass the test because it is her intention currently not to reoffend. Without periodic polygraph tests forming part of the conditions of parole there would be no way of knowing whether she had changed her mind. Periodic tests would determine whether or not she had reoffended whilst out on licence.
As experts in our field, we urge the Parole Board to take this fact into consideration. Should they require our services to conduct a lie detector test in Durham, we are available.
Morals and ethics
The fatality of a child, partly at the hands of his mother who should have protected him, causes many to wonder about the morality and ethics of releasing such a person back into society without proving they have been rehabilitated. The initial sentence Connelly received was that she be detained indefinitely until “deemed no longer to be a risk to the public and in particular to small children.” Already having been paroled before the 5 year minimum term set is disturbing.
As polygraph examiners and forensic psychologist we believe lie detector tests should play a much greater role in cases such as these.