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Commentaries On: Development of Policy Governing the Use of Technology in the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
16 pages
Three commentaries discuss issues and applications of policy that governs the use of technology in operations of the criminal justice system.
Alfred Blumstein - who was appointed by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice in 1965 to identify the roles of science and technology in the criminal justice system - focuses on three major technologies. One is the networking of criminal justice data throughout the system and among various agencies. The second major technology identified is the use of global positioning systems (GPSs) and individual transmitters to track and monitor certain categories of people who are under the control of the criminal justice system. A third major technology is the use of unique personal identifiers (e.g., fingerprints and DNA) in identifying perpetrators or to establish a suspect’s innocence. Blumstein advises that the Federal Government has an important role in developing and testing new technologies and facilitating their deployment by the criminal justice system. The commentary by Peter Young - Deputy Director of the United Kingdom’s Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch - describes some of the initiatives in the United Kingdom intended to advance the use of technology in criminal justice operations, along with their policy implications. The major sections of the commentary discuss policy development issues and selected technology policy goals. The commentary by Jennifer M. Granholm, the Michigan Attorney General, addresses the technologies used by criminals, particularly the Internet, to commit their crimes, as well as the technologies needed by law enforcement to counter these new criminal methods. On the latter topic, the commentary addresses deployment issues, such as affordability and training. The roles of State attorneys general and the Federal Government in developing and deploying relevant and effective law enforcement technologies are also discussed.

Date Published: January 1, 2002