Social Systemic Approaches to the Causes and Consequences of Using DNA Evidence Within Criminal Justice

Catherine A. Elwell, Walden University

Criminal justice has an unprecedented opportunity to become more efficient and effective through the creation and development of innovative methods of change. The most recent change experienced by criminal justice agencies and the public is the use of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) to identify criminal offenders with conviction. This study attempts to identify, describe, and/or define social systemic approaches to the causes and consequences of using DNA evidence based on principles of social development and the use of DNA samples. Further attempts are made to respond to questions as how the technology of DNA testing has changed the criminal justice system; and how reliable are DNA test results in resolving or reducing crime and the systematic causes and consequences of using DNA test results as evidence in courts--what occurs upon conviction and/or post-conviction using a DNA rofileis included. One must ask "what about the WRONGFULLY CONVICTED? Where does DNA profiling become reliable and accurate when identifying characteristics for determining who the criminals are and who the innocent individuals that have been "WRONGFULLY CONVICTED" since the days of Dr. Richard Shepard to the present release of Julius Earl Ruffin who was imprisoned for 17 years for a rape and exonerated in September 2003. In conclusion, challenges are discussed that appear to affect the effectiveness and efficiency of the crime laboratories critical the "nature of science systems theories and the principles of social systemic approaches." In conclusion, policy and political issues are drawn with assumptions, implications, limitations, and consequences to the criminal justice system as a dynamic organization, constantly changing while maintaining the business of "combating crime" resulting in state Forensic Crime Laboratoeis to contract out DNA testing and analysis to private laboratories such as Cellmark Corporation do reduce time delays. However, more research is required to complet.

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Updated 05/20/2006