Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Invest Your Forensic Science Reality Check

Two years ago, the U.S. Congress mandated a study of forensic science by the National Academy of Sciences. Founded by a law passed during the Civil War, the NAS provides expert studies of scientific matters for the government.

So many have eagerly (or with trepidation) awaited their report on the state of forensic science in the U.S., and its recommendations on how it might be improved. That report was made public last week. You can read about here:

The report should serve as a reality check to those who believe in the fantasy world version of forensic science. The NAS called for "major reforms and new research," said that forensic science in the U.S. is "badly fragmented," that it is lacking in "rigorous certification programs," that "many forensic science labs are underfunded, understaffed, and have no effective oversight."

And that's just part of the first paragraph of their press briefing.

You may notice that much of this fits in with what the Crime Lab Project has been saying for some time.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be reading the full report from the NAS (you can read it free online, pay for a full-report pdf, buy chapters, or order a hardcover on the NAS Web site). I'll post my thoughts about it here, but I encourage you to read it for yourself. The more people who are informed about the challenges facing forensic science, the better our chances of seeing real change.

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