Free Essay Example - Changing the Game

Published: 2023-11-30
Free Essay Example - Changing the Game
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Forensic science Genetics Criminal justice
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 915 words
8 min read

The criminal justice system in the United States has undergone a lot of changes in the past few decades. With the advent of technology, there are different ways to handle most of the cases in various law preceding. Fingerprint Analysis and DNA Databases are some of the aspects that have led to the revolutionization of criminal law and justice (Moriarty, 2005). These technological advents each play different roles in cases and sometimes overlap to ensure more precision with which cases are done and handled. These technological and databases have also affected some of the policies and how they are administered. This report presents some ways that Fingerprint Analysis and DNA databases have led to change in policies, computer technology, and how criminal justice databases investigate and bring criminals to justice.

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Fingerprint Analysis

The first case that was determined and used fingerprints was that which involved the murder trial of Thomas Jennings in 1911 in Chicago. The perpetrator had broken into the deceased house and shot him dead in the middle of the night (U.s. Department of Justice, 2014). The fingerprints left in the crime scene led to his conviction. After that, fingerprints have been considered in the determination and solving of many cases. However, after several cases, it proved to be a foolproof identification method due to many errors detected from the technology.

Nevertheless, scientists have been exploring the various loopholes in the technology hence leading to various advancements. In the criminal justice system, fingerprints functions such that the vital pieces usually are linked to the suspects of various crimes. Specialists collect latent prints from the crime scene by extracting or revealing the fingerprints using physical or chemical methods. They are then photographed and marked up using distinguishing features by forensic examiners (Moriarty, 2005). It is then used to search identical features in the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS).

The AFIS is a computer database in which fingerprint images are stored to a data structure that is searchable and organized to ease search, especially for criminal justice agencies. As such, if a person whose fingerprints are stored in the AFIS database encounters the justice system for another time, their identity can be searched and linked to their criminal history. Also, if a latent fingerprint is matched with those in AFIS, the persons involved will be put under criminal investigation and prosecution.

The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System was developed by the law enforcement system to ensure that legal cases that involve biometrics are handled in ways that are more authentic (Moriarty, 2005). The system allows for fingerprint search capabilities, electronic exchange of responses and fingerprints, electronic image storage, and latent searching capabilities. With these features in place, most mysterious cases that could initially not be solved can now be easily handled. The verdicts for these cases are also entirely satisfactory, and there is no way that DNA or fingerprints can be faked.

DNA Analysis

DNA Databases are technological advances in the criminal justice system used to solve cases in typically two divergent ways. One is where when a given crime suspect is identified; their DNA sample can be compared to that that has been collected from the crime scene (Lazer, 2004). The comparison of the DNAs found can be used to establish whether a suspect has committed a crime or not. Another way is where when a suspect is yet to be identified, the biological sample that has been found in a given crime scene can be put in analysis then compared to the other profiles that are in DNA databases meant to perpetrators identification. DNA databases also make it possible to link crime scene evidence to other scenes of crime.

It is the DNA database that typically links the DNA offender profile to the DNA evidence found in the crime scene. The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) has most people's profiles and can be obtained under local, state, and federal systems in a database set (Lazer, 2004). The database is available for the criminal justice system for use at any time of need. The system can also identify the serial killer by linking DNA found in different scenes. Biometric and fingerprints have been used by the criminal justice system on the verge of trying to ensure that intelligence and enforcement communities are authenticating the identity of individuals, especially when there is no other supporting evidence that can be used in cases. The American FBI has always been the leader in biometric innovation. As such, there are reasons to applaud and continue using it as it has always proved to be effective.


Fingerprints and other biometrics have come about to revolutionize the way of handling some criminal cases. For instance, the FBI gives several training, information, and service that involve biometrics. It is good to note that this includes the measurable biological or behavioral characteristics utilized in the individuals' identification. Fingerprints present viable biometric modality, while others include facial patterns, palmprints, voice patterns, irises, and DNA identification. In trying to solve most of the legal cases and mysteries, the bureau has developed the next generation identification meant to allow the criminal justice community to have the world's most efficient criminal history information and biometric electronic repository.


Lazer, D. (2004). DNA and the criminal justice system. MIT Press.

Moriarty, L. (2005). Criminal justice technology in the 21st century. Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD.

Palmer, L. (2017). Encyclopedia of DNA and the United States criminal justice system. SAGE.

U.s. Department of Justice. (2014). The Fingerprint: Sourcebook. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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