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NCJ Number: 228668 Find in a Library
Title: Flawed Forensics?: National Report Identifies Areas That Science Must Redress and Refurbish
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:36  Issue:7  Dated:July 2009  Pages:28,30,34
Author(s): Tabatha Wethal
Date Published: July 2009
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article provides an overview of the report to the U.S. Congress by a special committee under the National Academy of Sciences assigned to review the performance of the forensic disciplines in America.
Abstract: The committee’s report, entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” is a report card on the forensic disciplines. The report’s general conclusion is that “with the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, however, no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.” Although shocking on its face, this statement says what forensics authorities have known for years, so they welcome this official report as an opportunity to make needed reforms in the way forensic science is practiced in the United States. The report’s 13 recommendations stem from its first recommendation, i.e., that Congress establish an independent Federal entity, tentatively named the National Institute of Forensic Science, that will support and oversee forensic science standardization throughout the country. Under a new system of accountability, forensic analysis and processes would be removed from working under law enforcement agencies and operate independently under uniform scientific standards and practices. Further, in an effort to address the poor state of training for forensic scientists, the report calls for improving and developing graduate programs that will attract students to forensic science, strengthening and making lab accreditation mandatory, expert certification, and the creation of a national forensic code of ethics.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Crime laboratories; Crime laboratory management; Forensic science training; Forensic sciences
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