Volume 36, Issue 5 (September 1991)
Corrections and Criminalistics: Pragmatism, Principles, and Policy
A survey and analysis was conducted regarding the use of forensic science services in a correctional setting. Within the broader context of issues affecting involvement of police and prosecutions in custodial criminality, we have considered (a) whether existing forensic science services meet the needs of those who live and work in prisons and (b) the likely benefits of making specially tailored and easily accessible forensic services available. Investigative policies were reviewed for three correctional institutions including federal, state, and county jurisdictions. Also examined were types of cases, investigative effort, and relationships with outside investigative bodies. This study found a surprising underutilization of forensic science matters. The potential benefits of such services are considered from the view of the forensic scientist, the prison investigator, and society. In the light of these benefits, policy options are discussed.