The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) team works to build a statistically sound and scientifically solid foundation for the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence to grow competence in the forensic sciences and legal communities, and bring together forensic practitioners and other stakeholders through educational and training opportunities.
Forensic evidence should be one of the most objective and valid forms of testimony in a criminal or civil law case. In the past few decades, however, wrongful convictions have been made and criminals have walked free because of a struggle to recognize, collect, analyze and interpret evidence. The country demands stronger scientific foundations in forensics for the pursuit of truth and justice — and the CSAFE community is responding with solutions.
NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is funding research in forensic science, forensic policy and forensic practice with the goal of strengthening the validity of forensic evidence. The organization brings together experts from a variety of fields — forensic, research, legal, law — to achieve their mission. CSAFE researchers are part of this undertaking.
An interdisciplinary team of more than 60 researchers from four universities form CSAFE. We conduct research in statistical and probabilistic foundations of pattern evidence and digital evidence that can be applied to the forensics field in a variety of ways. We also educate and train forensic practitioners, legal professionals and other stakeholders on how to use, interpret and communicate these new methods.
With scientific approaches and applications, CSAFE researchers are seeking objective, repeatable ways to reduce human error and risk, minimize the effects of cognitive bias, and evaluate the human factors involved in casework.
CSAFE researchers are developing statistical techniques that forensic scientists can use to determine evidence’s validity. This equips the forensic community with a percentage of probability to inform conclusions and give insights to others as findings are communicated.
CSAFE researchers are developing educational modules for judges, lawyers and forensic science investigators on how to decipher and communicate forensic science results in honest, clear ways.
Our team of researchers has developed numerous training and educational modules to help forensic practitioners and other stakeholders apply our human factors, statistical foundations, and training and education research in the field of forensic science and technology.