Television dramas about forensic science are exciting. But let’s talk about reality, not make believe. Lives depend on our facing the facts.
Forensic science in the U.S. is in trouble:
A recent congressionally mandated report by the National Academy of Sciences found “serious deficiencies in the nation’s forensic science system” and called for “major reforms and new research.”
Among the problems cited, it found “many forensic science labs are underfunded, understaffed, and have no effective oversight.”
Great promise, many benefits, but lacking support:
Forensic science offers great promise and brings many benefits to our lives. The truth is, though, that public forensic science is woefully under-funded. Crime labs are often housed in aging facilities that were not purpose-built, often do not have the equipment they need, and are rarely fully staffed. Their workloads are overwhelming, leading to backlogs of untested evidence.
The picture is even bleaker when we look at medicolegal death investigation. The shortcomings of the current system put all of us in danger. Throughout the United States, most medical examiners and coroners offices do not have a fraction of the resources they need to do their work, and often a jurisdiction’s chief medicolegal death investigator is someone with little or no legal, medical, or forensic science training. Few medical students are training to become forensic pathologists, so the already extreme short supply of these specialists will only worsen.
Can anything be done?
YES! We hope you will take the time to explore our site to learn more about how forensic science affects our lives, what problems and challenges face it, and how you can make a difference! Your willingness to help can save lives.