U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Forensic Sciences

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2018
8 pages
This article develops the argument that in order for the forensic sciences to be strengthened, people from a broad array of scientific disciplines and backgrounds are needed to provide innovative solutions to complex criminal justice issues.
Research has shown that diverse teams perform better, are more creative, and outperform homogeneous teams. Increasing diversity in thought, perspectives, and backgrounds facilitates addressing new and complex research questions and problems. Research has also documented a direct link between diversity and quality of scientific work, as measured by peer review journal citations. Recognizing these research findings, the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is developing strategies and policies to solicit the participation of all segments of the sciences to fulfill its mission. NIJ is committed to policies that will enable the inclusion of the best and the brightest from a broad array of scientific disciplines and backgrounds to support rigorous and innovative research in solving criminal justice problems. This paper refers to the STEM model, which was introduced by the National Science Foundation in the late 1990s and was officially accepted in 2000. The STEM acronym refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM has evolved to refer not only to an integrative teaching strategy, but also to a policy response and priority of K-12 school districts, federal science agencies, and higher education institutions. In developing its own version of STEM, NIJ's Office of Investigative and Forensic Science (OFIS), which relies on the knowledge and expertise of an array of scientists, forensic practitioners, and criminal justice professionals to strengthen the forensic sciences. 4 exhibits and 30 notes

Date Published: March 1, 2018