In 2004, the National Institute of Justice created the social science research on forensic sciences (SSRFS) research program to explore the impact of forensic sciences on the criminal justice system and the administration of justice. Much of the early research from the SSRFS program focused on DNA processing and the use of DNA in investigations and prosecutions.
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)
ASCLD Train the Director Series – Investigative Genetic Genealogy: Background and Crime Lab Strategy
Population Data on the Expanded CODIS Core STR Loci for Eleven Populations of Significance for Forensic DNA Analyses in the United States
Assessment of Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Evidence Selection Leading to Development of SAK Evidence Machine-Learning Model (SAK-ML Model)
Crime laboratory and law enforcement personnel from three states discuss the value the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership to test sexual assault evidence and obtain investigatory leads.
During this partnership, NIJ is working with the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to test eligible kits from law enforcement agencies and laboratories across the country and develop best practices that can improve the quality and speed of sexual assault kit processing.
As technology improves, demand for analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence to help solve crimes grows. This video describes some of the challenges crime laboratories face in meeting this demand and how National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation in forensic techniques.
Bill King discusses the operations of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a program through which firearms examiners at state and local crime laboratories compare tool marks on fired bullets or cartridges found at a crime scene to digitized images of ballistic evidence in a nationwide database.
Technological advances have made it possible to detect male DNA in evidentiary samples collected several days after a sexual act has taken place. Panelists will present the research that has led to these findings, followed by a discussion of the potential impact of this work from the perspectives of the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) and the crime laboratory communities.
Listen to James Doyle discuss the basics of a "sentinel event" review in the criminal justice system. This learning-from-error approach borrows from principles that medicine, aviation and other high-risk enterprises have successfully used. Former NIJ Fellow Doyle offers the basics to understand this innovative idea that takes a system-wide perspective of error, bringing all stakeholders together in a non-blaming, forward-looking way after a bad outcome, such as a wrongful conviction, occurs.
Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.
Familial DNA searching is the practice of creating new investigative leads in cases where DNA evidence found at the scene of a crime strongly resembles that of an existing DNA profile but is not an exact match. Panelists will explain how the technology works, provide examples of successful convictions obtained through familial searches, and discuss the various misconceptions and concerns regarding this practice.
Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.
Forensic Information Data Exchange and the Partnership Between Law Enforcement and Crime Laboratories
NIJ Conference Panel