DNA evidence is considered as one of the most precious tools in the contemporary law enforcement, which can assist in the reduction crimes. DNA technology has become increasingly essential in ensuring accuracy, in addition to enhancing fairness in fairness in the process of delivering justice. The expansion in the use of DNA technology has necessitated the creation of DNA databases to assist in investigating crimes. However, DNA technology has played a part in the accumulation of cases in courts, leading to delay in offering justice. DNA technology has become a significant tool in law enforcement owing to its capacity to raise the number of convictions, as well as enhancing certainty in the crime investigations.
Description and Applications of DNA Technology
Criminal justice professionals have discovered that advancements in DNA technology has brought a new life in the investigation of crimes, as the new evidence gained through DNA technology can now develop into a DNA profile. DNA technology is utilized to solve crime, particularly a case where a suspect is discovered, and the sample of the suspect’s DNA is compared to an evidence collected from the crime scene (“Advancing Justice through DNA Technology,” 2014).DNA technology can be utilized in identifying criminals with improbable accuracy when biological evidence is available.
Equally, DNA technology can be applied to exonerate and set free suspects that have been erroneously accidence accused of committing crimes. Cases that take the first priority for a DNA test include murders and sexual assault. The collected evidence is matched with the DNA criminal profiles using DNA databases. When law enforcement officers visit a crime scene, they gather biological evidence, which include blood, hair strand, and semen. Such evidence is then taken to the crime lab to analyze the DNA. The resulting data is then compared with the saved data to aid in the identification of the suspect.
Pros/ Cons of the DNA technology
Forensic DNA technology has enhanced criminal investigation by being an instrument for surveillance, which is capable of reaching individuals who have dodged the law if traditional methods were used. In a legal case where a mother claims that an individual is the biological father of her child, DNA technology can be utilized to make the ruling on paternity disputes (Wall, 2013). With DNA probes, law enforcement agencies can assist health care professionals in detecting medical problems that are inherited from one generation to another.
One of the disadvantages of DNA technology is that it creates a backlog of cases in courts, as individuals persist in requesting for DNA analysis even where the forensic laboratory capacity is quite low. DNA tests are relatively expensive, thus, cannot address all cases brought in the criminal justice. The description of criminal categories, with regard to the legislation, can restrict individuals from gaining the truth about a crime. For instance, some criminals who plead to lesser offenses are not judged through a particular state data-banking regulations, hence, cannot be subjected to DNA testing.
The cost of carrying out a DNA test is determined by the number of individuals to be tested. Any DNA test for a legal case would attract higher costs due to extensive paperwork and administration of evidence. Although the law enforcement officers do not often gather biological evidence from property crime scenes, advancing DNA testing to property crimes is perceived as extremely costly (Zedlewski & Murphy, 2010). DNA technology has contributed largely in the backlog of cases in courts, as forensic laboratories cannot process evidence with the required speed. The cost of undertaking DNA test is quite high and many countries are incapable of purchasing the equipment or employ personnel to work in forensic laboratories.
Using DNA technology necessitates a thorough training of medical personnel, who would be handling DNA evidence. Thus, the department of justice should ensure that all professional working in their department have received additional training to enhance the optimal utilization of DNA evidence in solving crime (“Advancing Justice through DNA Technology,” 2014). Forensic science is evolving, thus, making it hard for the public to understand the applications of DNA technology. Hence, criminal justice system should ensure that all personnel involved in DNA technology receive updates that can enhance judgment in the criminal courts.
Project Management / Implementation problems or issues
Every time a suspect is arrested, tried, and condemned to a prison term, the real convict is offered a chance to commit more crimes. DNA technology does not prove beyond doubt that the individual accused really committed the crime. Effective administration of DNA testing often experiences problems when recording evidence after a new crime is committed, as well as when matching the DNA profiles with the DNA database. One of the problems with DNA technology is the likelihood of fingerprinting techniques interfering with the DNA results. The chances of experiencing fingerprinting problem increase after crushing biological samples that include blood, saliva, or skin. Even if an individual’s DNA was found within the crime scene, this does not imply that the individual identified through DNA test was at the scene, since criminals might deposit it there (Krimsky & Simoncelli, 2012).
The contemporary criminal justice system considers DNA evidence as the most powerful apparatus for deriving the right judgment. When utilized optimally, DNA technology is critical in solving crimes, in addition to preventing some violent crimes from happening. The need for DNA evidence to offer solutions to criminal cases has risen rapidly among the public, as well as among professionals, thus, law enforcement agencies should ensure that their forensic laboratories are up to the standard to avoid the backlog of cases. The demand for DNA evidence has resulted to the accumulation of cases as forensic labs endeavor to offer the truth concerning crimes.
Advancing Justice through DNA Technology: Using DNA to Solve Crimes (2014). The United States Department of Justice.
Krimsky, S., & Simoncelli, T. (2012). Genetic justice: DNA data banks, criminal investigations, and civil liberties. New York: Columbia University Press.
Wall, W. J. (2013). Genetics and DNA technology: Legal aspects. London: Cavendish Publishing Ltd.
Zedlewski, E. & Murphy, M.B. (2010). DNA Analysis for “Minor” Crimes: A Major Benefit for Law Enforcement. National Institute of Justice Journal.