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Genetics, Crime and Justice

Debra Wilson, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
As our understanding of genetics increases, its use in criminal justice becomes more attractive. This timely book examines the use of genetic information both in criminal investigations and during the trial process. It discusses current scientific understanding and considers some potential legal, ethical and sociological issues with the use of genetic information. Topics include rights of privacy and consent in obtaining DNA samples, evidentiary issues in court, the impact of genetic evidence on punishment theory and sentencing, and genetic discrimination.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78347 881 1
Availability: In Stock
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As our understanding of genetics increases, its application to criminal justice becomes more significant. This timely book examines the use of genetic information both in criminal investigations and during the trial process. It discusses current scientific understanding and considers some potential legal, ethical and sociological issues with the use of genetic information.

The author draws together debates from scientists, ethicists, sociologists and lawyers in order to understand how the criminal justice system currently reacts, and ought to react, to the new challenges presented by genetic evidence. She asks the important question of where priorities should lie: whether with society’s desire to be protected from crime, or with an individual’s desire to be protected from an unwanted intrusion into his or her genome. Topics include rights of privacy and consent in obtaining DNA samples, evidentiary issues in court, the impact of genetic evidence on punishment theory and sentencing, and genetic discrimination.

This book will be of use to criminal and medical law students, along with academics, practitioners and policymakers interested in exploring the various criminal law issues in relation to genetics. It will also be of interest to criminal justice, philosophy, ethics, sociology and psychology students and academics looking explore the legal issues involved in such a topic.
'Genetics, Crime and Justice is a work of significance. This book enlightens its readers​ ​ to the debate revolving around human genetics and criminal justice, and provokes thought on​ ​how to address the competing interests of society and the individual. Overall, the book presents​ ​to its readers, those new to the field or its​ ​ followers, a comprehensive understanding of the role​ ​of genetics in relation to criminality and the judicial system along with the myriad of issues​​ surrounding them.​'
– Midhat Farzeen, ​International Social Science Review

‘For a reader who is new to the area, Genetics, Crime and Justice provides a useful overview of the legal, ethical and social issues pertaining to the broad area encapsulated by the book. The reader who is familiar with some sections of the book’s scope will likely gain something of interest from the other connected topics Wilson considers. There is significant merit in such a work — one that brings together this diverse but thematically connected body of knowledge.’
– Current Issues in Criminal Justice
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction, 2. History of Genetics and Criminal Justice, 3. Use of Genetics in Criminal Investigations 4. The “Criminal Gene”, 5. The “Criminal Gene” Argument in the Courts 6. The Impact of a ‘Criminal Gene’ Argument on Punishment Theory 7. Introduction to Ethical Issues 8. Concluding Thoughts Index