.
October 21st, 2009
05:28 PM ET

NAS report: Strengthening forensic science

The National Academy of Sciences found that U.S. crime labs lack uniform standards, training and oversight.

The National Academy of Sciences found that U.S. crime labs lack uniform standards, training and oversight.

Just Science Coalition

Unvalidated or improper forensic science is a leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States.

As a result, forensic analysts sometimes testify in cases without a proper scientific basis for their findings. Testimony based on forensics can therefore lack basic scientific standards. Even within forensic disciplines that are more firmly grounded in science, evidence is often subject to dispute.

In 2006, Congress appropriated funds to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to thoroughly study the fundamental underpinnings of forensic science and its applications in our criminal justice system.

A NAS panel was formed – including scientists, academics, a retired federal judge, and other notable experts. Over a period of 18 months, the group conducted comprehensive research on forensic disciplines and released a This Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community released its final report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, in February 2009.

As outlined in the report, many forensic disciplines have evolved primarily through their use in individual cases and have not been scientifically validated or standardized.

Take a look at the report’s 13 key recommendations.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.