U.S. Forensic Science: 'Badly Fragmented' and in Need of an Overhaul

| 2/26/2009 3:48:59 PM

Police Crime Scene

Law enforcement officials often rely on forensic evidence to build cases against suspected criminals. This evidence isn’t foolproof, though. In fact, a new report by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council characterized U.S. forensic science as “badly fragmented” and in dire need of an overhaul.

The National Academy of Sciences identifies four major areas of weakness in forensic science practices, including a lack of accreditation and certification standards in forensic labs and a reliance on unproven analytical techniques. The council calls for the formation of an independent governing body to address these problems.

The report doesn’t talk about what this means for people who’ve been convicted with forensic evidence. For now, then, it’s unclear whether its findings will affect past or pending cases.

Image courtesy of VeryBadLady, licensed under Creative Commons.

(Thanks, Chemical and Engineering News.)

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