Tracing Technologies: Prisoners’ Views in the Era of CSI

Professor Helena Machado and Professor Barbara Prainsack


Tracing Technologies: Prisoners’ Views in the Era of CSIHugely popular television shows in which technologies, not people, are the main heroes, have led to the coining of the term ‘CSI effect’. It refers to the phenomenon that people, including some jurors and judges expect from crime scene technologies and what they see them do on television. Academics have examined the CSI effect on the public, jurors, judges, and police, but prisoners' views on forensic technologies and policing have so far been under-explored.

Tracing Technologies looks at how convicted offenders understand and view crime scene technologies. The book provides insights into the effect of different legal, political, and historical configurations on how crime scene technologies are used by the police in Austria and Portugal, and how they are viewed by convicted offenders, including whether they act as a deterrent.


Professor Helena Machado is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Minho in Portugal and Professor Barbara Prainsack is a Professor of Sociology and Politics of Bioscience at Brunel University in the UK.


Tracing Technologies draws on over fifty interviews with prisoners in Portugal and Austria to discover how they feel about crime scene technologies and their use, as well as how they think information drawn from police databases will affect their lives, careers, and futures.


After the book’s release, a conference will be held in July to discuss crime, ethnicity, and justice in the context of forensic technologies. The symposium, which will be followed by a book launch, will be held at Brunel University on Friday 6th July 2012. More information can be found in our events section.


The book is available to pre-order from Amazon, and is due for release on 1st May.

Page last updated: Monday 23 April 2012