Colorado officials question costs of polygraph tests for sex offenders

Christopher Osher reports in the Denver Post how state officials in Colorado — including legislators, judges, and psychologists — are questioning that state’s aggressive use of polygraph tests on registered sex offenders.

The report notes that Colorado has spent $5 million in the past seven years on such tests, despite questions about the accuracy and integrity of the test results.

Studies show that up to 70 percent of U.S. states polygraph sex offenders, but experts have testified that Colorado uses the tests aggressively, even polygraphing juvenile offenders for consensual sexting. Critics contend an entrenched and profitable cottage industry, rife with conflicts of interests, has grown up around polygraphing sex offenders in Colorado. 

“To me, there is no question that it borders on a scam,” said Senate President pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg, R-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.”

Read the full report in the Denver Post.

In a related story, read about the potential conflict of interest with the professional polygrapher who sits on Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board. 

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