Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Front Cover

Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community.

The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs.

While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.


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1 Introduction
2 The Forensic Science Community and the Need for Integrated Governance
3 The Admission of Forensic Science Evidence in Litigation
4 The Principles of Science and Interpreting Scientific Data
5 Descriptions of Some Forensic Science Disciplines
6 Improving Methods Practice and Performance in Forensic Science
8 Education and Training in Forensic Science
Current and Future Needs
10 Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
11 Homeland Security and the Forensic Science Disciplines
Biographical Information of Committee and Staff
Committee Meeting Agendas

7 Strengthening Oversight of Forensic Science Practice

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