The Associated Press reports in “Convicted sex offenders will take polygraph tests” published 18 November 2006 by the Anchorage Daily News:
FAIRBANKS — Convicted sex offenders in Fairbanks will have to take lie detector tests as a term of their parole or probation.
Plans are under way to expand a polygraph test pilot program started last spring in Anchorage, said Portia Parker, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Corrections.
“We have to know what’s going on in their heads in order to treat them better,” Parker said Thursday in remarks before a local civic organization.
Studies have found lie detector tests to be an effective tool in monitoring and treating sex offenders, Parker said.
Parker said almost 40 other states already require rapists and pedophiles to undergo polygraph testing upon release from prison. The practice has been challenged in court, but a federal appeals court upheld the use of polygraph testing on a convicted sex offender in May after a New York man sued, saying it violated his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
Results of polygraph tests are rarely admitted as evidence in court. “This has nothing to do with prosecuting people,” Parker said. “It has nothing to do with court. This is a treatment tool.
“It has a proven positive effect. It puts responsibility on the offender to change their behavior.”
Between 100 and 120 sex offenders are released from prison in Alaska every year, Parker said.
She said the challenge is having a large enough pool of polygraph examiners trained to work with the offenders. The pilot program in Anchorage relies on a contractor who travels here from Washington state.
“We’re not getting resistance from sex offenders to taking the polygraph, but they are being deceptive because they have been for years,” Parker said.
The National Academy of Sciences reportedly rates the median accuracy of polygraph testing on parolees at nearly 90 percent, provided the examiner is properly trained.
Alaska tops the nation for its prevalence of sexual assault and sexual abuse of minors per capita, according to Parker.
It is unclear on what basis it is claimed that the National Academy of Sciences “rates the median accuracy of polygraph testing on parolees at nearly 90 percent, provided the examiner is properly trained.” The NAS’s report, The Polygraph and Lie Detection makes no such claim. On the contrary, the Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph found (at p. 2) that “Almost a century of research in scientific psychology and physiology provides little basis for the expectation that a polygraph test could have extremely high accuracy.”