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Addressing The CSI Effect Project

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $199,542)

This program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8), the Byrne Competitive Program helps local communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The JAG Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system. The JAG Program authorization also provides that 'the Attorney General may reserve not more than 5 percent, to be granted to 1 or more states or units of local government for 1 or more of the purposes specified in section 3751 of this title, pursuant to his determination that the same is necessary ' (1) to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.' (42 U.S.C. 3756).

The National Initiatives: Adjudication program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), helps improve criminal justice systems, in particular indigent defense, community prosecution, and addressing the 'CSI effect' hypothesis by providing national programs/efforts, such as training and technical assistance, to address the needs of state and local justice systems and communities.

The Justice Management Institute will provide assistance in addressing the 'CSI effect' in the United States. A number of hypotheses loosely referred to as the 'CSI effect' suggest that the television program and its spin-offs, which can wildly exaggerate and glorify the capabilities of forensic science, affect the public, and in turn affect trials either by (a) burdening the prosecution by creating greater expectations about forensic science than can be delivered, or (b) burden the defense by creating exaggerated faith in the capabilities and reliability of the forensic sciences. The Justice Management Institute will conduct a scan of the field to identify existing programs and issues; conduct a focus group and provide documentation resulting from the focus group; identify and/or develop and deliver a training curriculum; support the development of a BJA Policy Brief on the 'CSI effect' and how it is being addressed; and conduct approximately four onsite technical assistance visits for prosecutors.


Date Created: September 15, 2009