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Polygraph - Issues and Answers

NCJ Number
Date Published
7 pages
This article discusses who uses the polygraph, its accuracy, test questions, relevant legislation, and admissibility as evidence.
Approximately 20 percent of all major U.S. businesses use the polygraph in some context, primarily to help reduce employee theft. A properly trained examiner using an established theft. A properly trained examiner using an established testing procedure yields 85-95 percent accuracy. Errors usually result from the examiner's failure to prepare the subject properly or from a misreading of the charts' physiological data. Test questions should focus on job-related honesty issues and avoid inquiries into subjects' personal lives. Various State licensing laws and American Polygraph Association standards limit the issuing of test results to authorized persons. Currently, 30 States require examiner licensure or certification, and 20 States and the District of Columbia regulate employers' use of the polygraph. A majority of the U.S. courts of appeal allow polygraph results to be admitted as evidence at the discretion of the trial judge, either on stipulation or over objection. Representative case citations and 13 references.