Covid-19 and polygraphs

When NARSOL’s New Mexico affiliate Liberty and Justice Coalition discovered that the DOC was still requiring persons under community supervision to travel to a central location, often by public transit, and take a polygraph exam, they sent a cease and desist letter to the Corrections Department. LJC subsequently discovered that in-person sex offense group treatment sessions were also still being required.

When NARSOL investigated, we discovered another state, Oklahoma, that is still requiring polygraphs and several others that are allowing them at the discretion of the local jurisdictions. In the face of this blatant disregard for stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements, NARSOL issued this press release on April 22 demanding that these practices cease.

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  • This topic has 18 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by AvatarLJ.
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    • #71429 Reply
      Cathy A Zuniga

      Still required here in Texas – they have stopped at least for Fed the group therapy – still privates going on and polygraph – my son has one on Friday.

    • #71439 Reply

      In TN, treatment classes and in-person reporting have been suspended, however, polygraphs will go on as usual. I guess the state just can’t stand the idea of being completely hands-off in this health crisis. I will be required sometime in early May to take my regular compliance polygraph. I think it’s an unacceptable risk, but I have to do what I’m told or I go to jail. A cruel choice to have to make; stay safe or go to jail.

    • #71498 Reply

      Let’s hope that whatever lessening of the standing requirements that occur during stay at home and social distancing orders will provide us a unique opportunity to disprove the myth that all these crazy interventions are needed. If the naysayers were right, and we know they are not, there would be a surge of recidivism without all the draconian “safeguards.”
      Many “ordinary criminals” have been recently released to the public, and early reports point out recidivism from them. While our fellow RCs are unlikely to get released, hose of us who are under the registry but having the opportunity to be a little more normal in our lives need to make sure everyone knows we are not recidivist. We price this every day. But here is a new opportunity to get out into the spotlight.
      I cannot conceive of any proof that a polygraph would or could stop a crime. And as a therapist, I also know that much of the sex offender treatment modalities are stuck in the middle ages where counseling theory is concerned. Another unlikely prevention tool. So forcing these poor souls to travel and risk their lives without evidence-based efficacy of those requirements should make those therapists involved reconsider the part they are playing. Polygraphs are not therapy. They are a law emforcement tactic to get confessions or self-incrimination. Along with duress, this requirement when the risk is credible and recognized by the Whitehouse, CDC, Congress, and the surgeon general seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    • #71516 Reply
      Old offender

      Fortunately, my city in Colorado has a full time detective who handles sex offender registration and residency checks. I called him the other day and he told me they are still doing in person registration with some added safeguards, like no fingerprinting, He told me if I am concerned about the face to face contact, I could call him and if nothing about my information has changed, he will do the registration by telephone and he will bring me the paperwork to sign when he does the residency check. BTW, he does the checks with an unmarked car and he is not in uniform. He is always friendly and polite. I am very pleased that we have such a professional handling things in our city.

    • #71535 Reply

      While reading this and the comments, so many thoughts are whirling around in my head. Polygraphs are a tool that only intimidates people and makes them susceptible to failing. It is just one of the ultimate bs tools used to mess up the lives of people who are already willing and able to just go on with their lives. I know, its the same old story over and over, but when will it end. Trying to be optimistic, but when I read something like this my heart just drops to my knees and I have to wonder how things got to this point. Off the point slightly, when states are virtually bankrupt, how on earth will they continue with the registry bs and say they need federal money for something else.

    • #71552 Reply

      Donna hit it right on the head:
      Here in Pennsylvania; we’re sent Registry Paperwork to fill out and send back In-Person Contacts are for now, suspended. My Polygraph was supposed to be this month, but I’ve not heard of when or if I’ll be required to take it yet. I’m not worried about it personally. It’s part of The Draconian Treatment Scheme I have to endure being an SVP, and Mandated to Register for Life. Recently, The President was reported as wanting to authorize about $500,000,000 more in Stimulus Funding I believe. I don’t what for, but one thing is certain. When The States run out of money-and the way things are currently going it’s very possible they might-what’s to be Prioritized with what money The Government has to borrow again? Oh I know! The Politicians’ Purses, Wallets, Special Interest Group Buddies, Big Business, and of course The Far-Those Without Sin-Right!!
      In a way, I think The Coronavirus Pandemic, just might be the Instrument that wakes The Conscience of The Country as a whole, up.

    • #71554 Reply

      Fortunately, the Federal system stopped that.

    • #71566 Reply

      Here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I’m still going to in-person group sessions and I have a polygraph on Monday since I failed my last one since I was worked up about the bus travel and how packed it was. Plus a nice 20 minute walk along a rather busy road with not alot of clearance between me and traffic had my nerves shot. It’s enough BS that I am required to do these polygraphs but now I need to put my health on the line too! I got laid off from work due to lack of work and safety but apparently anybody on the federal level is stuck risking their lives. The Megan’s law offices are not doing in person check-ins so the state is being responsible but I guess that doesn’t apply to our government. The only silver lining is if I get sick enough to need to go to the hospital I might have a good lawsuit on my hands, if I live through it that is.

    • #71571 Reply
      Hostage in Texas

      Polygraphs. What a joke. I took 11 of them here in the great oppressive state of texas. Guess what? I lied on everyone of them and “passed” with flying colors! How in the world can this country still keep this farce going???

    • #71692 Reply

      /When will polygraphs be banished? Why isn’t more being done in this area? Polygraphs seem like a pretty big problem area. Unscientific, constantly proven to be unreliable, no backing from any science or therapy organization/agency and a violation of the fifth amendment and yet I see NO action from Narsol or any other group.

    • #71727 Reply

      “You can stay in prison for 3 more years, or get out on our probation program that requires periodic lie detector tests.” This compelled me to take lie detector tests. Compelled speech is unconstitutional. Sure they can make excuses, deflect, and lie to exert power and control over there victims any way they like. At the end of the day when they look in the mirror all they will see is a violator, offender of human rights and someone who deserves to be in the system they have created. Most of the people that administer these tests are police officers and have sworn to uphold the constitution $$ can make bad men out of anyone. We need to make a human rights offender registry.

    • #71796 Reply


      “Most of the people that administer these tests are police officers and have sworn to uphold the constitution $$ can make bad men out of anyone. We need to make a human rights offender registry.”

      Hmm. The issue is a lot more than money but rather an actual evil that is inside of those people. It’s all part of the price to pay for getting charged with an SO charge.

    • #71819 Reply

      Group sessions here in San Diego, California are still being conducted via telephone or videoconferencing. Polygraphs are also still going on. When will this nonsense with the polygraphs end? They do NOT work, they are NOT accepted by the courts because they are not reliable, so why does this continue? Sure it’s good business for those in the polygraph business, but otherwise…what is the point? It’s a waste of money, and more importantly…a waste of time and grossly unconstitutional.

    • #71835 Reply

      Hmm, I see. My story and opinions aren’t important. Hopefully the requirements do cease, during the pandemic. Well, that’s a wrap. Good luck.

    • #71838 Reply
      Ben T

      In Arizona (Pima County), the groups have been temporarily changed to telephonic. Not sure about the polygraphs, but the monthly in-person visits have been postponed.

    • #72176 Reply

      On the federal system in oklahoma city, polygraphs are still required while groups are being done over the phone.

    • #72611 Reply


      You need to do your homework. Polygraphs are admissible if it is stipulated on both sides. Also, there is a judge here in CA that requests a polygraph be conducted in certain cases.

    • #72707 Reply

      On a related note: why did doctors stop participating in executions? Because somebody finally pointed out that it violated their professional ethics to do no harm. These “therapy” groups are in the same position. The psychologists who run them also have professional ethics. One of the big ones is that everything they do be based on science.

      Use of polygraphs is the opposite of science. Not only is there no proof they work, there’s tons of proof that they don’t work. It’s been settled. I had my attorney assure me that hooking it up to a Macbook suddenly made it work! 😛

      Second point is that if you are in a therapy group, you are being treated for something. How many have been given a medical diagnosis from the DSM-5? I’m guessing none since there is no medical diagnosis in the DSM-5.

      So, just like doctors and executions, we have medical professionals who are treating people with no diagnosis using a non-scientific test to intimidate. What would happen to a medical doctor who was giving cancer medication to patient that didn’t have cancer? Exactly.

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