BELL COUNTY (October 31, 2013) As the sex offender case load grows for one local probation department, polygraph tests have become a useful tool in tracking the behavior of sex offenders, officials say.
Bell and Lampasas Counties Community Supervision and Corrections Division officials say they hope the polygraph tests will help keep sex offenders from violating their probation, which could mean more criminal offenses against children.
CSCD Executive Director Todd Jermstad said after sex offenders are placed on probation in the area they have to commit to a treatment plan.
Part of the followup includes a mandatory polygraph test once a year.
Jermstad said with these tests probation officials can sometimes get offenders to admit that they've committed another offense, which can be investigated by law enforcement.
The tests can also be used to detect whether an offender is lying about activities that could potentially lead them to the temptation to commit another offense.
"They're still fantasizing, they're still accessing pornography things like that that indicate they need to go back into treatment so we can use that as a tool to refer them back into treatment," Jermstad said.
The sex offenders are required to pay for these tests, which cost $180.
If a probation officer thinks an offender isn't telling the truth more tests can be ordered.
"On the surface a sex offender can look like the perfect probationer there's no signs of violations, there's no problems, there's nothing else but behind the scenes there could be some activities and that's what we're aware of and that's what we spend so much time on," Jermstad said.