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Social Science Research on Forensic Science Topical Working Group Meeting, January 2013

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2013
0 pages
This Web page contains a summary of the discussion from the meeting of the Social Science Research on Forensic Science Topical Working Group, held in Washington, DC, on January 23-24, 2013.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the role of forensic evidence from a social science perspective and to get input from the field regarding current trends and research questions that could be studied to help the criminal justice system use its resources more effectively and efficiently. The meeting began with an overview of NIJ's social science and forensics portfolio. This was followed by presentations on 1) an NIJ-funded project aimed at developing a "forensic blueprint" for law enforcement; 2) an NIJ-funded study examining the role and impact of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system; 3) a discussion of new financing techniques and privatization issues that affect forensic services funding; 4) a discussion of the Urban Institute's evaluation of NIJ's DNA Efficiency Project in which five labs were tasked with increasing their efficiency; and 5) an overview of research that quantified the specific deterrent effects of DNA databases. Topics covered during the second day of the meeting included the use of ballistics imaging as a source of investigatory intelligence, a discussion of evidence collection methods and how to improve the collection processes, and a discussion of research aimed at developing and evaluating solutions for testing sexual assault kits. The meeting also discussed possible areas to focus social science research in the future, such as the impact of trauma on victims, witness intimidation and witness protection, focusing on outcomes of forensic analysis rather than outputs, the issue of non-reporting in sexual assaults, and the ramifications of wrongful convictions.

Date Published: January 1, 2013