CSI Effect: Forensic Science Enrollment Skyrockets


Forensic scientists complain about the “CSI Effect:” “the perception of near infallibility of forensic science after watching a few episodes of CSI,” Max Houck of West Virginia University told the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says the Washington Post. Houck said that enrollment in forensic science programs has skyrocketed; at his university four students of 25,000 graduated as majors in forensic science in 1999. Today, 400 students are in the program — the vast majority of them women — making it the single-largest major on campus.

Jurors and relatives of crime victims have unrealistic expectations, expecting test results in 30 minutes instead of the 30 days or more that may be needed, said Patricia McFeeley, a University of New Mexico forensic pathologist. Prosecutors are demanding more tests than ever, in some cases more than are needed. So many criminals watch forensic science shows that some experts have stopped cooperating with the programs.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40643-2005Feb20.html

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