The Biometric Consortium serves as a focal point for research, development, testing, evaluation, and application of biometric-based personal identification/verification technology. This site provides opportunities for discussion, including a bulletin board and the hosting of a biometrics conference every fall.
On November 22, 2005, the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 became law. Under the terms of the statute, Congress authorized the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on forensic science. The committee heard expert testimony and deliberated over the information it heard and received. Between meetings, committee members reviewed numerous published materials, studies, and reports related to the forensic science disciplines, engaged in independent research on the subject, and worked on drafts of the final report. Experts who provided testimony included federal agency officials; academics and research scholars; private consultants; federal, state, and local law enforcement officials; scientists; medical examiners; a coroner; crime laboratory officials from the public and private sectors; independent investigators; defense attorneys; forensic science practitioners; and leadership of professional and standard-setting organizations. The testimonial and documentary evidence considered by the committee was detailed, complex, and sometimes controversial. Given this reality, the committee reached a consensus on the most important issues now facing the forensic science community and medical examiner system and agreed and reported on 13 specific recommendations to address these issues.
In the United States, DNA analysis is almost exclusively used to investigate violent criminal incidents. Great Britain, by contrast, has employed DNA forensics in nonviolent criminal investigations on a national scale since 2001. The success of this strategy is one reason the National Institute of Justice launched the DNA Field Experiment in five communities (Orange County and Los Angeles, California; Topeka, Kansas; Denver, Colorado; and Phoenix, Arizona). The DNA Field Experiment evaluates the expansion of DNA evidence collection and testing to the investigation of property crimes and reports the results of a prospective, randomized study of the cost-effectiveness of DNA in investigating high-volume crimes, including residential burglary, commercial burglary, and theft from automobiles.
The study’s main findings are that:
- Property crime cases where DNA evidence is processed have more than twice as many suspects identified, twice as many suspects arrested, and more than twice as many cases accepted for prosecution compared with traditional investigation.
- DNA is at least five times as likely to result in a suspect identification compared with fingerprints.
- Suspects identified by DNA had at least twice as many prior felony arrests and convictions as those identified by traditional investigation.
- Blood evidence results in better case outcomes than other biological evidence, particularly evidence from items that were handled or touched.
- Biological material collected by forensic technicians is no more likely to result in a suspect being identified than biological material collected by patrol officers.