The field of criminal justice is an ever-evolving world, as it should be. This evolution enables greater protection of citizens and instills a better grasp on legal cases and rulings. As new techniques, advances, and technology are invented, they must be implemented into the field to continue to progress. The interest in utilizing technological advancements in criminal justice enables criminal justice workers — police, judges, lawyers, and the like — to use, understand, and benefit from the newest technology.
Students who are considering a position in the field or who are currently studying in a criminal justice program need to research these advances that take place in order to have a firm understanding of the direction the field is taking. Let’s take a look at some recent technological advancements, and the outcomes:
DNA Testing is one of the most important advances in criminal justice history. While this ability is no longer news by today’s standards, DNA testing has offered undeniable, solidified proof linked to various crimes in the past decade, which was a major breakthrough. According to the United States Department of Justice, “The past decade has seen great advances in a powerful criminal justice tool: deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists” (USDJ). Not only can DNA prove that someone is guilty, but also that someone is innocent. DNA also has the ability to clear subjects who were wrongfully charged for a crime, thereby absolving and exonerating them from blame.
Best of all, scientists have the ability to access and test DNA samples from crimes of the past, as long as there is physical evidence available. Amazingly enough, scientists can solve a decade-old crime and still absolve the innocent person who wrongfully paid time for it.
In the last decade, DNA technology has become vital in determining whether suspects are guilty or innocent of convicting a crime, which has elevated accuracy in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Criminal Justice via the Internet
Believe it or not, some of the most potentially crippling threats come from the online world in the form of cyber threats. In the past year, the Internet has suffered several breaches of security. For example, early last year Target’s name offered a little more irony than they bargained for: they became the target of a costly credit card security breach, jeopardizing the security of thousands of their customers’ credit card numbers. This left many wondering how this could happen, and why the thieves were not caught in time.
The United States FBI notes, “Intrusions into our corporate networks, personal computers, and government systems are occurring every single day by the thousands. We see four primary malicious actors in the cyber world: foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups, organized crime enterprises, and hacktivists. Dozens of countries have offensive cyber capabilities, and these foreign cyber spies have become increasingly adept at exploiting weaknesses in our computer networks” (FBI). The FBI understood the weight of this threat, which led to the establishment of the FBI’s Cyber Division in 2002: a group of specialized technologists who study Internet usage patterns and fight against cyber threats and security breaches. This was a large step forward in the world of criminal justice.
Upcoming Laws and Legislations This Year
Due to recent public awareness of alleged police brutality cases, many police departments in the United States are pushing for a new technological advance.
Truthfully, high profile cases such as the Trayvon Martin case and the Michael Brown case in Ferguson are becoming all too common — regardless of one’s stance on the issues. The question of who is right or wrong will not end the instances of these cases arising. In fact, during the 21st century, the discrepancy of a case such as this is unnecessary, considering the United States has the technology to combat this issue: body cameras.
Similar to a police officer’s dash cam, a body camera can give a first-person detailed understanding of an event as it unfolded. While this may not change the past, it can help to improve the possibility of true justice in the future, therefore, alleviating the potential public uproar.
Because the United States has not yet created nationwide legislation to be proactive against these discrepancies, cases such as these — in which a certain group of people feel victimized — are gaining more and more attention in America’s media, and the public is acting out. Police departments are considering legislations to protect both citizens and their workers alike.
More states’ counties are pushing for a law requiring police officers to wear surveillance cameras during their workday. However, even those who are not required to wear body cameras are still rushing out to buy them. These cameras will enable judges, lawyers, and even the general public the ability to witness exactly what happened during a police encounter of a high profile case.
With this raw footage, cases can be ruled accordingly. Police will be held accountable for any unlawful actions, benefiting victims and their families in the future; at the same time, the police involved will also be protected. If the undeniable video evidence clearly shows that they did not commit a crime and that they acted lawfully, that will be obvious via footage. Not only can potential victims benefit, but even any innocent police who are involved in a case. This technological advance is a win-win situation.
Learn More with FNU: It’s Time to Apply
Has the excitement of improving criminal justice advances caught your attention? Are you ready to learn more about criminal justice in the 21st century and beyond? If you are considering a career in the criminal justice field, then enroll now to Florida National University’s (FNU) programs! If you are interested in studying, but have not yet narrowed down your field of interest, take a look at our programs, and apply today!