The article of Berman and Fox (2009) presented the history of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Research Education) program, and the main objective of the program which is to prevent drug addiction among the youth. For this study, the police officers were required to undergo trainings in order to lead educational sessions in local schools. The main purpose of the program is to educate young children of the long-term impact of teen drug abuse. The study revealed that those teens coming from suburban towns are more prone to be lured to drug addiction.
The problem or issue presented in this article is to determine to effectiveness of the D.A.R.E. program among the youth. In order to carry out the research study, graduate students were hired for the project to conduct an investigation on the D.A.R.E. phenomenon and 16 local districts schools were selected among four (4) states of Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Illinois (Berman and Fox, 2009). The 16 local school participants were divided into 2 groups, the first 8 schools implemented the D.A.R.E. program, while the 8 other schools did not use the program. The researchers visited the schools, conducted interviews and surveys.
Based on the information that was gathered, it was revealed that D.A.R.E. program received negative feedback since one of the members of the school board opined that the program alone does not have the capability to reduce drug rates among the youth. The over-all perception about the program is that it is just simply better from the old programs carried out by the government. After the presentation of evidence, the final recommendation was to formulate a new D.A.R.E. program. In order for the new program to be effective, researchers and practitioners should make their respective contributions to ensure that the multifaceted program will be able to fulfill its purpose of keeping the youth away from drug use (Berman and Fox, 2009).
The second article of Gianelli (2010) presented the problem on cognitive bias that may affect the court’s decision and how the perception of people can influence their decisions, especially in cases of ambiguity. As a result, the cognitive bias committed by forensic scientists can influence the conclusion of the state prosecutors by drawing social support in occupational settings.
The problem or issue presented in the article is that cognitive bias can cause undue influence on the prosecution team which may unjustly prejudice the accused such as in the case of Brandon Mayfield. The participants in the study were composed of five fingerprint examiners who were asked to conduct an investigation on the Madrid terrorist train bombing incident. For this research method, the five fingerprint examiners who had no knowledge about Mayfield’s fingerprints were asked to compare the findings in the crime scene and the suspect print. The five examiners had the same finding that the pair of prints was the same print that was erroneously matched by the FBI which they claim was the Madrid bomber.
As a result, the statement of these examiners created a contextual bias that the recovered prints did not match (Gianelli, 2010). The participants were asked to reexamine the prints and only one of the five examiners concluded that the two prints matched. The other four examiners changed their statements as the three overturned their previous identifications. The fourth examiner stated that there was insufficient data to form a conclusion. The result of the study showed that there is a possibility to change identification decisions on exactly the same fingerprint by merely present the same in a different context (Gianelli, 2010).
It can be concluded that forensic science techniques such as fingerprint identification, firearms identification and fingerprint comparison can be subjected to contextual bias which has the tendency to influences the FBI examiner’s initial judgment and subsequent examination (Gianelli, 2010). Therefore, there is a high probability that cognitive biases are problematic because they are results of unconscious reasoning strategies which may end up to wrong conclusions
In the article of Cohen (2010), the problem or issue that was presented is the racial disparity in the imposition of death penalty among defendants. The study has shown that the number of black defendants who faced federal death row and the unequal number of defendants who were charged for the murder of white victims. The study aims to provide an explanation on the phenomena why there were several black defendants on federal death row and the disproportionate number of defendants facing charges of murder of white victims.
The participants of the study include some states in the U.S. including Missouri, Virginia and Maryland. The researcher gathered relevant information regarding the percentage of black and white Americans who have been tried in state courts for the crime of murder or homicide. The results of the study has shown that majority of the jurors consider race when making decisions on the imposition of death penalty (Cohen, 2010).
The similarity of the three articles is that they all presented the perennial problems in criminal justice which are: drug addiction among youth, forensic science lapses and racial discrimination in the imposition of death penalty. The results of the studies have shown that the U.S. criminal justice issues continue to persist if the main problems in the justice system are not resolved such as discrimination, biases and weak crime deterrent programs.
Berman, G. and Fox, A. (2009). Lessons from the Battle Over D.A.R.E. Center for Court
Innovation. Web. Retrieved on July 16, 2013.
Cohen, G.B. (2010). The Racial Geography of the Federal Death Penalty. Washington Law Review, 85, p.425.
Giannelli, P. C. (2010). Cognitive Bias in Forensic Science. Criminal Justice, 25(2), pp.61-