RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A new book, "Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice: Critical Issues and Directions," explores the use of forensic evidence and its impact on the justice system.
The book was co-authored by Kevin J. Strom, Ph.D., director of the Policing, Security, and Investigative Science Program at RTI International, and Matthew J. Hickman, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Seattle University.
Seeking to address the gap between the social and physical sciences, the book shows how social science research can inform us about the utility of forensic evidence with respect to criminal investigations and adjudication.
"While it is important to study the accuracy of forensic analysis and technical issues related to crime scene processing, understanding how forensic evidence is used and how it is impacting the criminal justice system is also critical," Strom said. "We decided it was time to compile the available research and try to address some of the critical issues facing the intersection of forensics and criminal justice."
The book includes five sections that explore the demand for forensic services, the quality of forensic services, the utility of forensic services, post-conviction issues, and the future role of forensic science in the justice system. The book is designed for researchers, policing leaders, criminal investigators, forensic scientists and policy makers, as well as for classroom use.
In the chapter titled "What We Know (and Don't Know) About Forensic Backlogs," Hickman and Strom discuss the nature and scope of forensic evidence backlogs in the United States, including those in crime laboratories and law enforcement agencies. The authors also highlight steps taken to reduce backlogs in some U.S. jurisdictions. In the chapter "Rethinking the Role of the Crime Laboratory in Criminal Justice Decision Making," Strom and Hickman argue that the role of crime laboratory personnel should be properly recognized as decision-makers and key partners within the criminal justice process.
Strom is an expert in policing research including law enforcement responses to community violence, crime reporting systems, and the impact of forensic science on the administration of justice.
The book, published by Sage Publications, is available on leading commercial bookseller websites.