Normal Topic California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders (Read 8471 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Jan 9th, 2015 at 4:11am
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I would be interested in hearing from any individuals affected by this regrettable new policy.

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http://www.macon.com/2015/01/08/3519875_california-making-sex-offenders.html

California making sex offenders take lie-detector tests

By DON THOMPSON

Associated Press January 8, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. For the first time, California will make paroled sex offenders take periodic lie detector tests as a way to gauge their behavior patterns and perhaps prevent new sex crimes.

The move came in response to several high-profile cases involving parolees who raped and killed.

State officials said this week that the lie detector tests will help them better gauge which offenders are most dangerous and in need of increased supervision.

Parolees could be asked about everything from whether they are attending 12-step addiction programs to whether they are lingering at playgrounds or having inappropriate contact with children, officials said.

All sex offender parolees also are required to participate in specially designed treatment programs. Previously, only high-risk offenders had to undergo treatment. That has bumped the state's spending on treatment programs from $8.5 million last year to $18.3 million this fiscal year.

The state also is using more tests, known as risk assessments, designed to gauge each offender's likelihood of committing a new crime. That will help parole agents devote more resources to those who need it most.

California is not the first state to adopt the new practices, which were fully implemented last month. At least 18 states have used a similar policy, experts said. But with about 6,250 sex offenders on parole, officials said California is by far the largest.

It also has the nation's largest program of tracking sex offender parolees' movements with satellite-linked GPS devices. But that program has had notable failures, including Phillip Garrido, who was convicted of keeping Jaycee Dugard hidden at his Contra Costa County home for 18 years, and John Gardner III, who is serving a life sentence for killing two San Diego teenagers.

Most recently, two Orange County sex offenders who were required to wear GPS tracking devices were arrested last spring in the rapes and killings of four women.

"These tools, none of them by themselves can absolutely prevent crime," said Douglas Eckenrod, a parole administrator who oversaw training of the 241 parole agents who supervise sex offenders. But used together, he said, the tactics can help parole agents prevent crimes while getting offenders the treatment and services they need.

Offenders are required to undergo the lie-detector tests as a condition of their parole. Deceitful answers can't be used in court or by themselves to decide an offender's guilt or innocence in crimes or disciplinary violations, but parole agents can use the results to investigate the possibility of new crimes or parole violations.

Harriet Salarno, founder and chairwoman of Crime Victims United of California, welcomed the department's latest effort because she said GPS tracking was oversold as a way of preventing new crimes. But she predicted sex offenders will find a way to fool the lie detectors.

So far, they seem to be prompting offenders to hurriedly admit any transgressions to get out in front of the lie detector tests, said Brenda Crowding, a parole administrator who sits on the state's Sex Offender Management Board. Together with GPS tracking, the tests give parole agents a wealth of information they never had before.

"It's a tool that perhaps sets the stage for the first time in an offender's life where he's literally practicing being honest," added Eckenrod.

The so-called "containment model" of tests and other requirements was recommended by the Sex Offender Management Board, made up of treatment and law enforcement professionals, and required under a 2010 law named after Chelsea King, one of Gardner's victims.

Research shows the combined steps have the best chance of preventing new crimes, reducing new offenses by 40 percent, said Janet Neeley, a deputy attorney general who commented on behalf of the board.

American Civil Liberties Union senior staff attorney Michael Risher said lie-detector tests can be inaccurate, and it might be better for California to limit the polygraph examinations to those shown by risk assessments to be more dangerous.

  

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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #1 - Jan 10th, 2015 at 1:43am
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George,
I think this is what is referred to as the "24 hour tail."

While it may tend keep some parolees in line, there is a downside as well. False positives will cause anxiety for some who are trying to go straight and false negatives will give a false sense of security to the community.
  
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #2 - Jan 10th, 2015 at 3:18pm
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Ex Member wrote on Jan 10th, 2015 at 1:43am:
False positives will cause anxiety for some who are trying to go straight and false negatives will give a false sense of security to the community. 


Perhaps, but if even one child victim of sexual abuse is protected or avoided then the effort is worthwhile.
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #3 - Jan 10th, 2015 at 6:15pm
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pailryder wrote on Jan 10th, 2015 at 3:18pm:
Perhaps, but if even one child victim of sexual abuse is protected or avoided then the effort is worthwhile.


I think most people want to protect children from any kind of abuse or harm. But your statement does have a twinge of moral blackmail to it.
  
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #4 - Jan 10th, 2015 at 6:44pm
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pailryder wrote on Jan 10th, 2015 at 3:18pm:
Perhaps, but if even one child victim of sexual abuse is protected or avoided then the effort is worthwhile. 


I disagree. If post-conviction polygraph screening were to spare only one victim, then it wouldn't be a cost-effective measure, and the considerable resources spent on polygraph screening programs would be better directed elsewhere.

Polygraph screening is completely invalid. The fact that those being screened have been convicted of serious crimes does not compensate for polygraphy's lack of validity.

Any benefit that might come from such a polygraph screening program (in the form of actionable admissions obtained) must be weighed against the potential harm that predictably comes from relying on an invalid test. For example, the fact that a parolee has passed a polygraph may well create a false confidence that the parolee is complying with the terms of his parole.

In addition, the cause of justice is harmed when innocent people are falsely accused of deception, and this will inevitably happen to many California parolees who are subjected to polygraph screening. When a parolee comes to understand that the state is relying on a scientifically baseless procedure, it will predictably erode his confidence in the system. I don't think this is a desirable outcome.
  

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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #5 - Jan 11th, 2015 at 6:23pm
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pailryder wrote on Jan 10th, 2015 at 3:18pm:
Ex Member wrote on Jan 10th, 2015 at 1:43am:
False positives will cause anxiety for some who are trying to go straight and false negatives will give a false sense of security to the community.


Perhaps, but if even one child victim of sexual abuse is protected or avoided then the effort is worthwhile.

Pailryder, I say it's much better to direct the resources to solid, "gum shoe" detective work than to have 1 false negative exposing a child due to unwarranted over-reliance on unreliable polygraph screening.

Of course, it goes without saying the damage that false positives do to more polygraph victims.

How do you respond to this fact?
  
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #6 - Jan 12th, 2015 at 10:47pm
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meangeno

You do understand we are talking about convicted sex offenders, who in order to be released on parole must give a full accounting of all victims.
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #7 - Jan 13th, 2015 at 3:31am
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pailryder wrote on Jan 12th, 2015 at 10:47pm:
meangeno

You do understand we are talking about convicted sex offenders, who in order to be released on parole must give a full accounting of all victims.


Pailryder, so you rule out false negatives on paroled sex offender polygraphs? Sorry, as this is a serious subject, but that's laughable.
  
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #8 - Jan 13th, 2015 at 10:04pm
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meangino

Not ruling it out, but a false positive isn't likely to ruin a convicted, registered for life, sexual offender's reputation.
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #9 - Jan 14th, 2015 at 3:09am
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pailryder wrote on Jan 13th, 2015 at 10:04pm:
meangino

Not ruling it out, but a false positive isn't likely to ruin a convicted, registered for life, sexual offender's reputation.


So false negatives and false positives are OK?  Geez . . .
  
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Re: California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders
Reply #10 - Jan 14th, 2015 at 4:35pm
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meangino wrote on Jan 14th, 2015 at 3:09am:
pailryder wrote on Jan 13th, 2015 at 10:04pm:
meangino

Not ruling it out, but a false positive isn't likely to ruin a convicted, registered for life, sexual offender's reputation.


So false negatives and false positives are OK? Geez . . .


In a word, yes.

By that I mean the corrections and SO treatment communities, generally speaking, both accept polygraph's error rate.

Ironically, nobody knows for certain what the error rate is.

Daniel Mangan, M.A.
Full Member, American Polygraph Association
Certified PCSOT Examiner
www.polygraphman.com
  
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California to Require Polygraph Screening of Paroled Sex Offenders

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