Staff writer Bryn Mickle of the Flint Journal reports on post-conviction polygraph “testing” of sex offenders in Michigan. Excerpt:
Hooked up to a machine that measured his body’s response to questions, a convicted Burton sex offender spent about 45 minutes Tuesday answering “yes” or “no” to queries about his activities in the month since he was released from a prison in Muskegon.
After serving 8 years for fondling an 8-year-old Genesee Township girl, the man knows that if he gets caught in a lie, he could be headed back to jail.
“It forces a guy to be honest,” the man said. “If you do something wrong, you’re more or less forced to come forward with it and deal with it up front.”
The man, 52, who asked not to be identified, is among more than 60 sex offenders on parole in Genesee and Lapeer counties who are getting lie detector tests to help determine whether they are telling the truth.
The state Department of Corrections has been using polygraph tests locally since March to test the honesty of sex offenders. Sex offenders also are given polygraphs in Detroit and Muskegon.
By relying on a pseudoscientific fraud to monitor sex offenders’ compliance with the terms of their parole, public officials give recidivists who take the time to learn how to beat the polygraph the opportunity to escape serious scrutiny.