Criminal Justice, New Technologies, and the Constitution: Special Report   [open pdf - 973KB]

From the foreword by John H. Gibbons: "In honor of the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, OTA [Office of Technology Assessment] is conducting a study of Science, Technology, and the Constitution. At the request of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, and its Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties and the Administration of Justice, OTA is examining ways in which continuing scientific advances and new technological developments may influence the scope and meaning of enduring constitutional principles and protections. A background paper, Science, Technology, and the Constitution, was released in September 1987. The first of several special reports, 'Science, Technology, and the First Amendment', was released in January 1988. Articles I and III of the Constitution and four of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights address the rights of those suspected, accused, or convicted of crime. This report, 'Criminal Justice, New Technology, and the Constitution', looks at new technologies used for investigation, apprehension, and confinement of offenders, and their effects on the constitutional protection of these rights. These technological innovations offer social benefits that respond to the current pressures for reduction of crime, the just and equitable administration of justice, and relief of prison overcrowding. However, technology throughout history has been a double-edged sword, equally capable of enhancing or endangering democratic values. This report describes the new technologies being used in criminal justice and, as in all of the reports of this series, addresses that delicate balance to be maintained between the national interest and individual rights."

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Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/
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