Most Californians are already aware that there are many different consequences for an individual who has been convicted of a crime involving a sex offense. Usually, penalties include lengthy incarceration, lifetime sex offender registry, state-approved psychiatric programs and, perhaps, the promise of continued humiliation for the remainder of their lives. Now, law enforcement officials insist that parolees who have been previously convicted of sex offenses take a lie detector test at regular intervals. While some argue that this will prove a useful tool for predicting future criminal behavior, especially that of violent crimes such as rape and murder, others argue that there is no point to this practice as lie detector tests are known to be unreliable and easy to ‘fool.’
There are 18 other states that have implemented similar or identical practices, but there is no statistical data yet that definitively proves that these techniques actually work to prevent more sex crimes. Although, at last count, California has approximately 6,250 sex offenders currently out on parole, this number does not take into account the simple fact that an individual may be considered a sex offender for anything from charges of indecent exposure (CA Penal Code 314) to more violent sex crimes. Several questions remain, however, the least of which is whether or not this type of procedure will actually work to prevent crimes. Additionally, will sex offenders have to bear the financial burden of such testing or will it be taxpayers?