The criminal justice system has a problem, and its name is forensics. This was the message I heard at the Forensic Science Research Evaluation Workshop held May 26–27 at the AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. I spoke about pseudoscience but then listened in dismay at how the many fields in the forensic sciences that I assumed were reliable (DNA, fingerprints, and so on) in fact employ unreliable or untested techniques and show inconsistencies between evaluators of evidence.
ASU criminologists examine why some parolees fail after release from prison
ASU criminology and criminal justice professors Alyssa Chamberlain and Danielle Wallace wanted to find out how the release of large numbers of parolees in a concentrated area affected their chances of returning to prison.
To do this, they examined data from three Ohio cities, Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, from 2000 to 2009. They found that the greater the number of former inmates in a disadvantaged neighborhood, the more likely they were to commit new crimes. Data analysis also showed that those released in less disadvantaged neighborhoods and in lesser concentrations faired better. The study will be published in a forthcoming edition of the journal Justice Quarterly.
An article in the The Intercept takes a detailed look at the flawed science of bite mark analysis and the case of Bill Richards, a California man who was convicted in 1997 of murdering his wife, Pamela. […] As numerous cases like Richards’ have emerged over the years, some odontologists have spoken out against the credibility of bite mark analysis and have received incredible backlash from the larger forensic odontology community.