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Crime Scene Processing in the Correctional Setting

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There is no more challenging a crime scene than that found in the custodial setting. Unlike on the streets where a first responder, or pair of responders, can take command of an incident quickly to preserve the integrity of the scene and the evidence it contains, the crime scene investigator in a jail or prison is not so fortunate. The jail or prison crime scene investigator will naturally be faced with a crime scene that is already contaminated, either by the routine and constant trudging of a confined inmate population or by the efforts of staff to restore order. Thus, the discovery of DNA from any one incarcerated individual is not as compelling to the event as it would be in the general public. Furthermore, custodial officials rely on the philosophy of “overwhelm and suppress” to control inmate disturbances. Therefore, the investigator will have to deal with an abundance of staff stuffed into a compact area of forensic importance. In the custodial setting, the focus of correctional staff is the prompt restoration of order with little concern for the evidence that the crime scene may contain. Crime Scene Processing in the Correctional Setting is a practical guide for sheriffs, wardens, superintendents, correctional investigative personnel, correctional officers, and deputies that is written in a manner that is easy to understand and by someone who faced the challenges of processing crime scenes in the correctional setting.

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