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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 160849 Find in a Library
Title: What Price a Free Market in Forensic Science Services?
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1996)  Pages:37-60
Author(s): P Roberts
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 24
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article assesses the organization and regulation of British forensic science services in the context of significant and extensive recent developments; the tension between free- market competition and external regulation is the central focus of the inquiry.
Abstract: This tension is explored through an analysis of two principal themes in the Runciman Royal Commission's recommendations, namely, free-market competition in forensic science services and regulation of the forensic science community by a Forensic Science Advisory Council. Contextual links with broader developments in the forms of government, administration, and political participation are suggested. The author argues that the market approach to forensic science services is flawed in principle. After drawing attention to one fundamental objection - - that the language of market exchange irrevocably distorts and debases the pursuit of criminal justice -- the economic arguments are considered on their merits. Economic theory is used to derive three predictions that, when taken together, provide a strong case against extending the market mechanism to forensic science services. The author endorses the proposal for external regulation by a Forensic Science Advisory Council as long overdue; he suggests that effective regulation is incompatible with free-market principles. 32 footnotes and 76 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Costs; Economic influences; Foreign police; Forensic sciences
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