CO: Pricey polygraph testing of sex offenders under fire as critics target accuracy, expense

Colorado has spent more than $5 million to administer polygraph tests on convicted sex offenders over the last seven years, despite concerns that the results are so unreliable that they can’t be used at trial.

Polygraphs, often called lie-detector tests, are used to determine which prisoners convicted of sex offenses are suited for release by probing their sexual history, attitudes about their crimes and whether they are committing new offenses. They also guide how offenders on parole or probation are supervised.

But a bipartisan group of legislators has joined offenders in questioning the validity of the tests, saying too much weight is placed on what they call junk science, The Denver Post reported . They also say a profitable cottage industry has grown up around polygraphing sex offenders in the state. Full Article

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“They also say a profitable cottage industry has grown up around polygraphing sex offenders in the state.
“‘To me, there is no question that it borders on a scam,’ said Senate President pro-tem Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican from Sterling. ‘We incentivize the people who give the polygraph tests to have inconclusive results so an offender has to go back and pay for another one on a more regular basis.'”

No…I’m sure that’s not happening at all.


I am not surprised that the decision in U.S. v. Scheffer does not apply here.

So, in states where the courts have allowed polygraph tests for “sex offenders,” it would be safe to assume the positive results of a test for a defendant in any criminal court case can be used to free him from prosecution? If not, why are they allowed in this case? They are either inherently unreliable, or they are accurate.


Is there a specific organization that the state of Colorado uses to conduct these polygraph tests. If so can you please share the name or names of these organizations or companies..

The polygraph / lie detector is junk science. The polygraph’s premise assumes that spikes in breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, or sweat indicate deception. Logically, if the polygraph’s premise were true, then it would also mean you were lying anytime you’ve had spikes in breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, or sweat. How absurd!

If you have yet to watch, here is a YouTube clip from truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything:

It’s almost as if everything related to “sex offender” registration — including registration itself — is a scam.