New Guide Details Steps from A-to-Z for Preserving Biological Evidence – National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – 30 April 2013

Posted on May 1, 2013. Filed under: Pathology | Tags: , , |

New Guide Details Steps from A-to-Z for Preserving Biological Evidence – National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – 30 April 2013

“A new handbook by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) provides forensic laboratories, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system with state-of-the-art guidelines and recommended best practices for preserving biological evidence so that it is available at any time to solve “cold cases,” confirm the guilt of criminals or exonerate the innocent.

Biological evidence refers to two types of evidence commonly recovered from crime scenes or collected during criminal investigations: samples of biological material—blood, semen and other bodily fluids; hair; tissue; bones and teeth—or items containing biological material such as a bloody T-shirt. The Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers (NIST Interagency/Internal Report 7928) is designed to help ensure that this evidence has been properly stored to avoid contamination, premature destruction or degradation, and accurately tracked to prevent loss. It was authored and edited by the Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation, a group of 20 experts from various forensic, law enforcement and scientific disciplines, as well as legal scholars, medical personnel and representatives of relevant professional organizations.

The handbook is divided into five main sections that explain the issues, offer guidelines and make recommendations related to:

Retention—identifying what biological evidence should be kept and for how long;
Safe handling—including the use of protective equipment, the management of spills or accidents, and methods for properly disposing waste;
Packaging and storing—outlining the conditions for storage and how to properly package biological evidence to maintain its integrity;
Chain of custody and tracking—a review of the different evidence-tracking methods available and procedures for improving all aspects of chain-of-custody recordkeeping; and
Disposition—summarizing the best practices for disposing of biological evidence once retention is no longer required by law.”

… continues on the site

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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward – National Academies Press – February 2009

Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: Diagnostics, Pathology | Tags: |

Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community.

The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs.

While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.

HARDBACK
ISBN-10: 0-309-13135-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-13135-3

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