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Testing All Rape Kits Provides Returns of Up to 65,000%



FORENSIC ADVANCEMENT: The Forensic Advancement season of Just Science will focus on many areas that challenge forensic leadership within the community. A majority of these interviews were recorded at the 2018 American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) Annual Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia. The ASCLD Symposium is an industry-leading conference designed for leaders and managers in the forensic laboratory space. The symposium boasts workshops and plenary talks designed around all aspects of forensic science, but particularly focuses on enhancing leadership and management in a forensic laboratory. This season will include episodes covering performance tools, ASCLD efforts in rapid DNA, return on investment for DNA databases, witness testimony, millennial personnel, laboratory public relations, and more.

Just FORESIGHT on Sexual Assault Kit
Release Date: November 19, 2018
Guest: Dr. Paul Speaker

In episode three of the Forensic Advancement season, Just Science interviews Dr. Paul Speaker from West Virginia University about the jurisdictional return on investment for DNA Databases. With the help of FORESIGHT crime labs can have not only an emotional argument but also an economical argument for testing all sexual assault kits. Just Science explores questions in this episode such as, should labs test all sexual assault kits? Should labs prioritize by if it was a consent case? does this data have more than just a societal impact? Stay tuned as Dr. Speaker leads us through how individualized crime lab DNA data can aid crime labs competing for scarce resources. This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

DRUGS: In this season, Drugs,  topics will range from legalization of marijuana in relation to police officers, the opioid epidemic, Electronic Dance Music Festivals, how witnesses’ and victims’ memory of events can be affected by alcohol, current vaping research, drug courts, and much more.

Episode Twelve: Just Opioid Financial Burden on Crime Labs
Release Date: July 11, 2018
Guest: Dr. Paul Speaker

In episode twelve of our Drugs Season, Just Science speaks to Dr. Paul Speaker, from West Virginia University, about the economic burden our justice system has from opioid deaths. They are estimating that the crime labs alone are spending around 270 million dollars a year just on the opioid crisis. Laboratory budgets are not growing fast enough to handle this drain on resources. Listen along as Just Science delves into the data of the opioid crisis. This episode will conclude the FTCOE’s season on drugs. This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

SPECIAL RELEASE: LEADERSHIP: In this special release season on Leadership, you will hear interviews highlighting different areas where guests have excelled, along with some of their lessons learned. The season will highlight forensic professionals and teachers of leadership including Ben Swanholm, Jody Wolf, Martina Bison-Huckaby, and Jeremy Triplett. We will discuss their personal philosophies on leadership, how they came to be leaders in their own lives, and what their affiliations have added to the conversation. Stay tuned as Just Science helps to shed light on the complex issues of leadership.

Episode Three: Just Motivational Leadership
Release Date: December 11, 2017 Guest: Martina Bison-Huckaby

Episode three of the special release season, Leadership, features Martina Bison-Huckaby, the Director of the Center for Executive Education at West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics. Just science examines how understanding and relating with people separates leadership from management. Also, we discuss that taking business techniques, and human psychology into a crime lab leadership position can be challenging. Martina Bison-Huckaby explains how West Virginia University, ASCLD, and the NIJ are aiding forensic scientists who are seeking leadership help. This season of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

NUMBERS: The first season of “Just Science,” titled Numbers will give listeners content focusing on issues that forensic scientists are faced with, such as error data or proof of data. We will explore new technologies and systems that provide more efficient ways of delivering quantitative results, as well as the human factors that go into producing solid data.

Episode Six: Just Budgets
Release Date: May 29, 2017 Guest: Dr. Paul Speaker

In the sixth episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], guest speaker  Dr. Paul Speaker discusses the  FORESIGHT program. Dr. Speaker ,  an Associate Professor at West Virginia University, will describe how The  FORESIGHT program helps crime laboratories  manage their finances and  track their performance by using data. This episode will stress the importance of  knowing business jargon, and how it can  help crime laboratories persuade policy makers.



Participating laboratories have been able to increase efficiency, reduce turnover, increase internal satisfaction and corresponding compensation, and reconsider strategic priorities for enhanced contributions to the justice system. In this webinar, Project FORESIGHT is detailed along with several success stories and offers the entre’ for potential participation. Success stories include laboratories with dramatic increases in compensation to accompany improved performance; greater participation in decision-making for improved performance and greater internal satisfaction; and individual laboratory inquiries to solve local issues. Finally, the webinar offers the opportunity for any forensic laboratory to get involved without any direct costs, yet reap the benefits of the project analysis. Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.   


This is the archival version of a Policy Forum presented by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence focusing on the key factors playing a role in our nations crime laboratory backlog. Forensic science laboratories are under siege. Ever-increasing volumes of evidence are slowing the pace of investigations and criminal trials. The Census of Publicly Funded Crime Laboratories, funded by the Department of Justice and established in 2002, has systematically measured the backlog problem only to find that backlogs have increased despite federal funding aimed at fixing the problem.

Many laboratories have been unable to secure the resources needed to resolve the problem due to the fiscal challenges faced by most U.S. government agencies. But is it just about resources? Are laboratories being asked to do too much? How much input should stakeholders have on testing provided by laboratories? This policy forum explores the key factors that contribute to backlogs at our nation’s crime laboratories, as well as the impact they have on the efficiency of our criminal justice system. Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.


This webinar uses data from Project FORESIGHT to examine the effects of the opioid crisis on the demands for laboratory resources and the direct and indirect effects on the work of forensic laboratories.

The dramatic increase in abuse of opioids has an impact on all facets of society. Using data from Project FORESIGHT for a few of the most highly impacted jurisdictions, we examine some of the trends in the forensic laboratory as the opioid crisis grows. This includes a look at the direct changes in case volume, productivity, and processing costs for drug/controlled substances, toxicology ante mortem, and toxicology post mortem; but also includes an examination on the indirect effects on all other areas of investigation in the laboratory. The implications from a review of the data suggest that laboratories must monitor their own trends and plan accordingly or else risk having diverted resources begin to cripple the laboratory’s ability to deal with all of its casework.  Read More Here. Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.