Today, the field of forensic science is one of the most important tools that investigators have in cracking a case. From forensic geology to DNA analysis to ballistics, analyzing the science behind each crime is crucial. To better understand its beginnings, we go back to the twentieth century to shed a light on Edward Oscar Heinrich – an innovative man who made many contributions to early forensic science in the U.S.
To call someone a traitor or label an act as treasonous is a big claim. But what exactly does treason mean? What does it entail? We speak with constitutional law expert, Professor Carlton Larson about its limited use in modern courtrooms and the public’s perception of the law versus its actual scope and definition.
You’ve probably seen a black and white portrait of a suspect displayed online, broadcasted on TV or even printed in a newspaper back in the day. But how exactly does a forensic sketch artist create such a detailed and accurate profile based off a single, hour-long witness interview? Lois Gibson, a longtime police sketch artist in Houston, joins Viewpoints this week.
Each year, white collar crime results in losses that range between 300 and 800 billion dollars. Comparatively, other street-level crimes only total 16 billion dollars. Despite the huge cost, we seldom hear about lasting consequences for corporate offenders. We explore the prevalence of white-collar crime in our country and the systems that allow this corruption to flourish.
The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world with more than 2.3 million inmates. Each year, prisons cost taxpayers 80 billion dollars. But with two thirds of those incarcerated returning back behind bars within a few years, clearly something is broken. We discuss how some popular reforms do more harm than good and what needs to change within the system.
We delve into two great true crime miniseries, “When They See Us” and “Unbelievable” that are now streaming on Netflix. The two shows take a deeper look into past crimes to uncover how the justice system failed the people behind these stories.
Since the beginning of the U.S. prison system, religion has been suggested as a way to help rehabilitate criminals. We talk to Tanya Erzen, a professor of religion, about why that is and what role prison ministries play in the lives on inmates.
While seasons one and two told the stories of specific, extraordinary cases, season three sets its sights on the mundane. This time, the team at This American Life and Serial took on telling the story of criminal justice in Cleveland over the course of a year. The reporters follow little cases: a bar fight, a drug bust, individuals who break parole. It tells the story of a fractured system: a system where the community doesn’t trust the police. A system where prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike are overtaxed and overly reliant on plea deals. A system that determines years of people's lives, and could affect any of us at any time.
There are millions incarcerated in American prisons, even many juveniles who were sentenced to long terms alongside adults. We talk to guests about how and why this happens, whether it should continue, and what life is like for young people behind bars.
Sexual offenders have to live by a very particular set of rules. They can’t live near playgrounds, they’re on a registry for life. These rules exist to make everyone safer. But they also can limit a reformed criminal’s ability to reintegrate into everyday life and be productive members of society.