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Ethical Treatment for All Youth

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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Adopted by the Board of Directors, February 24, 2007

VI. Sex Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs Should Not Include Mandatory Polygraph Examinations and Should Respect Fifth Amendment Rights.

Mandatory polygraph testing violates the Fifth Amendment prohibition against compelled self  incrimination. Additionally, polygraphy has never been generally accepted as a reliable method of determining deception. Eight of nine Supreme Court justices have recognized that "the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques." The revocation of liberty interests should not be conditioned upon such a controversial and unreliable method.

VII. Children Are Different
A regrettable consequence of the proliferation of new draconian sex offender legislation is
that the new laws are applied "across the board" to all offenders including juveniles.

NACDL opposes the application of these laws to juveniles. Our juvenile justice system is rightly premised on the notion that children can and do change as they develop. They are extremely amenable to reform and rehabilitation efforts. Research demonstrates that a child's brain is more impulsive and inclined toward poor decision making.

The NACDL believes that public registration is inconsistent with the goal of rehabilitating
offenders. Permanently exposing childhood misdeeds to public shame and disgrace harms the child, and eventually may harm society. Many acts which would qualify as "sex crimes," if committed by adults, are often the result of immature curiosity and non-malicious
exploration between adolescents and teens who did not have appropriate adult supervision. Children should be educated, loved, and supervised, and enter adult life free from an internet listing of the bad things they did when they were young. Juvenile offenders should continue to receive exceptional care and treatment, even if their delinquency involves sexual conduct.