In “Operation Truth or Consequences,” New York State officials are requiring the nearly 2,000 convicted sex offenders under supervised parole to submit to polygraph tests, says the Buffalo News. The goal is to catch offenders who may be thinking about committing a sex crime or breaking their parole rules before they have a chance to do it. Champions of victims’ rights and laws protecting children from sexual predators hail the initiative as an excellent tool. Says Amherst Council Member Shelly Schratz: “It’s very hard to lie on a polygraph test.”
Civil rights activists and defense lawyers question whether the program will be effective, given all the strict regulations governing paroled sex offenders that are already in place. “Is this a Tom Cruise movie?” asked John Curr III of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Curr was referring to the 2002 movie “The Minority Report,” in which police officers use a telepathic medium to predict crimes. Answering deceptively or suspiciously won’t result in the parolee getting a violation, but it would prompt the parolee’s supervisors to modify surveillance and conditions to make sure the convict doesn’t do anything against his or her parole rules or harm another person. “This is not a panacea; it’s not a magic bullet,” said Parole Executive Director Anthony G. Ellis II.