Uniting forensics, law, and social science in meaningful and relevant ways, Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice is structured around current research on how forensic evidence is being used and how it is impacting the justice system. This unique book—written by nationally known scholars in the field—includes five sections that explore the demand for forensic services, the quality of forensic services, the utility of forensic services, post-conviction forensic issues, and the future role of forensic science in the administration of justice. The authors offer policy-relevant directions for both the criminal justice and forensic fields and demonstrate how the role of the crime laboratory in the American justice system is evolving in concert with technological advances as well as changing demands and competing pressures for laboratory resources.

Adopting a Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences

Adopting a research culture in the forensic sciences
Barry A. J.Fisher

Introduction

Forensic science arose out of a need by the police, prosecution, and the courts to assist criminal investigations through the use of science, medicine, and technology. Long before crime laboratories were established, police often relied on university scientists and physicians for assistance (Thorwald, 1965, 1967). Forensic practices were commonly validated by trial and error. For example, the identification of criminals became a vexing problem by the 19th century, particularly in large metropolitan areas. Alphonse Bertillon, the French police investigator, was an early practitioner to use anthropometry to identify individuals by taking measurements of various anatomic features on the subjects' bodies (see “Alphonse Bertillon,” n.d.). Eventually, the cumbersome technique ...

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