Citation Edit


Office of Technology Assessment, Criminal Justice, New Technologies, and the Constitution (May 1988) (full-text).

Overview Edit

Articles I and III of the U.S. 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 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.