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Technology and Communication in Criminal Justice Essay

Technology affects our everyday life. Technology also affects the criminal justice field, especially in communication. The criminal justice system has different databases thanks to technology. These databases do things that humans wouldn’t be able to do or wouldn’t have the time to do. Two specific types of databases are AFIS and Iris scan. AFIS (also known as IAFIS) stands for Automated Fingerprint Identification System. AFIS is just that, a database created to keep track of fingerprints. Iris scan is the scanning of the iris as a method to identify people based on unique patterns within the ring-shaped region surrounding the pupil of the eye. Even though we use technology every day it can also have its drawbacks. Technological advancements will always come with positives and negatives. A positive is that technology makes life easier for everyone who works in the criminal justice field. A negative would be if a form of technology breaks down or there isn’t any electricity to keep it up and running.

AFIS is one of the most important and commonly used databases available to officers. This special database searches the fingerprints of over 74 million subjects in the National Criminal History Record File. AFIS is a system that compares fingerprints. It isn’t precise enough to make a final determination on a case but what it does do is cut out all of the people whose fingerprints don’t compare very closely to the initial fingerprint at hand. This is a huge asset to the criminal justice system because it’s probably close to impossible for an officer to sit and compare a million different fingerprints to one single one without the probability of overlooking the correct fingerprint. As humans we are more open to errors where as databases are more reliable with the information they give out. The AFI system comes up with a short list of candidates and the officers can compare that short list instead of 74 million other fingerprints. Another very important and extremely reliable database is the Iris scan which came around in about 1994. The name of the Iris scan pretty much describes itself. Iris scan is the scanning of the iris as a method to identify people based on unique patterns within the ring-shaped region surrounding the pupil of the eye.

The color of the iris is different from person to person. If looked upon closely you would be able to see the complex patterns of the iris that make each person unique. The iris is like a snowflake, no two are alike. Since every iris is unique and different it is a perfect way to identify people and it is harder for people to commit identity fraud since it is an internal organ. A sophisticated high resolution camera is used to take one or more images of the eye. The images are then put into a matching engine where it searches a database for similar irises. This database can search thorough millions of images per second, something physically impossible for a human being to do. Because of this, the technology behind the iris scan is very important to the criminal justice system. The AFIS and Iris scan databases are similar in some ways but also very unique each in its own. These databases can do things in a matter of seconds or minutes that are physically impossible things for officers to do in any acceptable amount of time. Both of these types of technology make cases and work life easier for every officer using them. The AFIS and Iris scan make information available to officers as well.

They both have to do with peoples unique and distinct body parts so they are able to separate one subject from the other like other databases can’t. They are different because AFIS deals with fingerprints while Iris scans deal with the iris in the eye. Also, a fingerprint can change slightly over time whereas an iris stays the same for the most part throughout someone’s life. Fingerprints are more commonly used though mostly because they are more cost effective. Fingerprinting is also faster and easier to do. In my opinion, technology in the criminal justice field has made communication so much better and easier. Even though technology makes things easier and faster it still has its drawbacks. One of the many positive effects of technology is that communication in the criminal justice field goes around much quicker. At their disposal are technological advancements like faxes, internet, and email. All three can help get information to other counties or stations a lot faster than if that technology wasn’t available. For example, if there is a man that is wanted and on the run an officer can fax over the information and a picture to another county.

The same officer can also send out a massive email to other stations and counties to keep the eye out for the suspect. An email or a fax can be done in a matter of seconds to just a few minutes. If it wasn’t available the officers would have to depend on phone calls or snail mail which just doesn’t do the job a fax or email with an attached picture would do. The internet is also at their disposal and it is completely stocked with information of great magnitudes. With any great things there are drawbacks.

One of the main drawbacks of fax, email or internet is if there is no power. If there is a shortage or a blackout these types of technologies are no longer available for use. They all depend completely on electricity and without it cannot function. There is also the problem of breaks or glitches. There are times when internet or email runs very slowly because of glitches. There could also be a problem with the cords that doesn’t let the internet be used. A fax machine or computer can also easy break or get damaged. They can give out at any given time and will need to be repaired. Sometimes it is easier to use technology but not always convenient.

As can be seen, technology is a part of our everyday life. Thanks to technology many useful databases are available to the criminal justice field. Two specific types of databases are AFIS and Iris scan. Technology is used every day but it can also have its many drawbacks. Technological advancements will always come with positives and negatives. A positive is that technology makes life easier for everyone who works in the criminal justice field. A negative would be if a form of technology breaks down or there isn’t any electricity to keep it up and running.


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