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Truth in Sentencing Laws

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Institution: Truth in Sentencing Laws

Implementation of computer technology in delivery of Justice has revolutionized the process. Technologies implemented include use of criminal databases. Criminal Justice databases are systems comprising numerous criminal records. Such systems contain DNA and biometric records such as fingerprints. When a criminal offence takes place, forensic samples are collected at the scene. Next, the samples are matched with those existing in the database. When a foolproof match is identified, a warrant for arrest is issued against the suspect (Thomas, 2007).

Electronic criminal databases were first employed in 1996 in the United States. Initially, they were used to track sex offenders .However; they have now been expanded to nearly all crimes. They are mainly operated by federal institutions such as the Department of Justice and FBI. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is an example. State officers such as sheriffs are also known to run local criminal databases. Advances in forensic technologies have significantly altered criminal investigations. The use of DNA has positively improved tracking of criminals. Ballistics has enabled investigators to identify possible tools employed in the criminal activity. Thus, investigators are able to know what evidence needs to be identified in order to build a case against a suspect. Fingerprints have enabled investigators to link suspects to tools of crime as well as confirming their presence at a scene (Krimsky & Simoncelli, 2011).

Therefore, it can be said that implementation of forensic and computer technology in justice has improved the system. Offenders are identified by fingerprints. The tools they used in criminal activity are identified and traced by ballistics. DNA is used to confirm their presence in a scene of crime. The legal landscape has changed considerably. Investigations now take significantly shorter periods to complete. DNA and fingerprints have also become admissible in courts of law as evidence. However, labs testing for DNA have to meet stringent regulations for evidence to be accepted. The collection of biometric data and DNA by government agencies has also come under fire. Privacy advocates claim that it is an express violation of human rights (Lazer, 2004).

References

Krimsky, S., & Simoncelli, T. (2011). Genetic justice: DNA data banks, criminal investigations, and civil liberties. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lazer, D. (2004). DNA and the criminal justice system: The technology of justice. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Thomas, T. (2007). Criminal records: A database for the criminal justice system and beyond. Houndmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

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