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Emerging Issues in Criminal Justice - Essay Example

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DNA technology has made a rapid advancement in the last two decades and has been accompanied by the government's implementation of a national DNA databank. Known as NDIS and CODIS, these programs have the potential to revolutionize law enforcement investigations and significantly reduce the number of repeat offenders of violent crimes…
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Emerging Issues in Criminal Justice
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Download file to see previous pages The US Supreme Court has maintained that DNA testing and storage of records does not violate this right.
The report further describes the value of DNA testing in the prevention of repeat offenders of violent crimes. Statistics are included on the scope of the program and reports on the number of cases that it has aided, as well as the number of potential cases that it could help in the future. In addition, it was found that the economic expense might become overwhelming to operate the program in a prudent manner. The rapid expansion of the program has called for increased lab space, storage facilities, and technicians as law enforcement begins to rely more heavily on DNA evidence. In addition, social pressure needs to be handled in a manner that does not give the public the perception that it has further eroded their constitutional guarantees. The report reaches the conclusion that meeting the financial and social challenges presented by NDIS will be an important step for the future of forensic investigations.
Recent advances in DNA technology have been both a blessing and a curse for the United States' justice system and federal and local law enforcement agencies. It has offered law enforcement officials an important new tool to track, investigate, and prosecute dangerous criminals. DNA evidence has provided for the proof beyond a reasonable doubt in thousands of cases involving the most serious crimes of murder and rape. DNA evidence has also been useful in the exoneration of countless convicts that had been wrongly convicted, many of them on death row. To take advantage of this new technology, the US government has pursued a program of compiling a databank of DNA information taken from US citizens. This database can later be used to crosscheck for suspects that may be linked to crime scene DNA evidence at a later date. The US system is similar to the program that is operated in the United Kingdom. While there are significant benefits to be gained from maintaining a large DNA database, it has come at a substantial cost. The economic cost places a burden on law enforcement's already scarce resources. There are also significant social costs due to the perception of the invasion of privacy and the constitutional questions regarding the right to privacy. In addition, there are several logistical challenges to be overcome to assure the proper collection, analyzation, and long-term storage of the mounting quantities of DNA evidence. Determining the most appropriate policies regarding the US DNA databank requires an evaluation of the benefits and costs of the program, while examining the issue in light of the US constitution and global human rights standards.
The federal government coordinates the DNA databank program as advocates have sought to expand the database. Individual states vary in their DNA reporting requirements but all states participate in the gathering of DNA information on the most serious violent crimes, which is passed to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a program managed by the FBI (Walsh, 2006). This DNA information is made available to law enforcement agencies through the National DNA Index (NDIS), which currently has over 6,384,379 offender profiles and 241,685 forensic profiles on file and has aided 77,700 investigations as of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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