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History of forensic medicine Essay

The necessity of understanding the reasons why a loved one suddenly becomes missing, his/her whereabouts difficult to trace and the difficulty of establishing the probability of that person’s survival is one of the many realities of families today. Should threats actually pose on a person’s life or the missing member left traces of his/her whereabouts are stuffs that not only fill the minds of those who are after detective stories; these are matters that provide meaning and hope for those families and individuals with real, missing loved ones.

The popularity of shows on television such as CSI and police crime stories in a weekly slot has virtually lined almost all of networks around the globe. Films and theaters make sure they profit and usually they do whenever they strike the old formula of suspense and crime. Embedded in these formats is the dependable work of forensic medicine and the people behind it. It is no wonder that many children and adolescents today list the job of a forensic specialist as one of their ambitions.

Purpose of the Paper Forensic medicine is a distinct discipline dedicated to accomplish the ultimate which is to solve crimes and prevent, limit or reduce its occurrence with the application of a wide-ranging field of sciences in response to inquiries in relation to the legal set-up. It utilizes scientific methods and the application of pharmacology and other related schemes in the pursuit of justice.

Basically derived from the time of the Romans when both the accused and the accuser are given their day in “court” to present their speeches to persuade the court of the issues of their cases; today, an intricate system of a combination of knowledge from different sectors is used to achieve the purposes of the legal system. It uses modern technology and the expertise of behavioral sciences in law enforcement. Myths have been built around notorious serial killers and rightly so, because many of those who perpetrate such heinous activities manage to cause people to tremble just by hearing stories about their “exploits.

Many were astounded by such names or tags as “BTK” and others like him who tried to carve their names in history though rather infamously. More modern types in the likes of Ted Bundy for instance and the “happy face” killer still evoke fear as well amazement that such people do exist. What was more amazing though is that they had been caught and that the breakthrough of forensic medicine in the early years to its modern developments had made the capture more successful and a credit to the science.

In the case of jack the Ripper, he was popularized in London many years ago, around 1880, when this man started to murder prostitutes in the East End portion of this metropolis. He was never caught and his identity remained clouded in mystery. But the details as to the methods of his killing (or ripping) and whether he reaped them or not (his victims) became known only when the developments that had brought forensic medicine to the forefront started to become available (Barbee, 2006). The paper is written to explain, enlighten where forensic medicine is today and where it started.

With the view that many of high profiled cases were solved due to the advances in the field which includes computer and digital forensics, use of forensic analysis tools of all kinds i. e. , sampling techniques, and a host of other manners of gathering evidence, the author seeks to establish the history of forensic medicine in precis. Problem Statement The literature today is rich to provide an enthusiast and serious student of the field with sufficient information concerning the issue on how this particular discipline emerged.

It therefore seeks to answer the following question: What is forensic medicine and what are the major developments that helped established its place in the legal system? Basing on that primary inquiry, the following are the paper’s sub-problem statements: o How is forensic medicine defined? o What are the developmental milestones significant in the understanding of the discipline? o What are the current medical and scientific breakthroughs that are being employed in the application of forensic medicine? o What are its successes in terms of accomplishments as solving such high profiled crimes as BTK and insights into the legendary Jack the Ripper? What are its failures and the deficiencies in the system that needs to be improved and addressed? Definition of Terms Forensic medicine is a distinct science that “involves the principles and techniques that identify evidence at a crime scene” (UKTV people, 2007). Crime scene investigation refers to the protocol that people in the uniform employs whenever a crime occurs such as the incidence of murder that brings the trained to examine the scene of the crime. The intention is to find traces or clues that might lead to the solution of the crime (UKTV people, 2007).

DNA which represents the chemical Deoxyribonucleic Acid, is the “chemical found in virtually every cell in the body and which carries genetic information from one generation to the next. When translated, this information determines our physical characteristics and directs all the chemical processes in the body” (UKTV people, 2007). Fingerprint evidence. “Fingerprint evidence rests on two basic principles: A person’s “friction ridge patterns” – the swirled skin on their fingertips – never change and no two people have the same pattern of friction ridges. ” (UKTV people, 2007).

Ballistics. The science of ballistics is often a highly important element in finding out who did the “killing. ” It deals with the motion, behavior and effects of bullets. Theoretical Framework ~On criminality: Factors contributing to the incidence This refers to the body of knowledge that provides a basis to the current understanding of the different facets of the field. There are various scientific viewpoints where criminality is concerned and its reduction and prevention as goals. The author attempts to discuss various theoretical perspectives as knowledge base for the strength of its proposition.

Sociologists, in an attempt to explain and point out the reasons behind delinquency, have concluded that there are connections between specific youth behaviors with the home environment, family background, the neighborhood, associations, and many other aspects that together, or separately affect the formative years of young people’s social environment. Delinquent children usually come from a background of difficult circumstances.

Parental alcoholism, poverty, breakdown of family, abusive conditions in the home, death of parents during armed conflicts or drug overdose, and the HIV/AIDS scourge, and etc. re some of the various reasons that can leave children virtually orphaned. One or both parents may be physically present, but because of irresponsibility on their part (if even one of them is addicted to drugs or alcoholic), a child may grow developing certain ways and attitudes that are directly/indirectly caused by the parent/s addiction or drug-related behavior. In this case, true delinquency lies on the parents; and the children are, in a way, orphaned or unaccompanied, and without any means of subsistence which, in the first place, the parents’ fundamental responsibility to provide.

Generally, and increasingly, these children are born and/or raised without a father. They are first in the line of those who are at greatest risk of falling into juvenile delinquency. Without noticing it as it is typical of any youth to be lacking in prudence, with newly embraced group, the gang, a corresponding subculture starts to assimilate them, and before long, they start to engage in activities of adult criminal groups.

It is usually after being engaged in criminal activities for an extended period of time with its accompanying consequences (such as ending up in prison or rehabilitation institutions for drug addicts) that delinquents realize they are into a very dangerous zone. A large portion of all juvenile violations (between two-thirds and three-quarters) are perpetrated by youths who are members of certain gangs (Venkatesh, 1997). Unlike in school and their family, these have no strict rules to be followed except loyalty to the group.

It gives young people esteem when they somehow feel they are the “rule” in themselves. This is the lure of gangs. It gives the promise of fulfillment to would be delinquents. Popularity, access to the powerful figures on the streets, freedom to express one’s self, as well as easy flow of money (if the gang is also involved in some illegal activities such as drug dealings, which is common in most gangs) are seemingly within grasp of anybody who just have the guts to dare (OJJDP, Mar. 2003).


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