Masters Thesis

Root cause analysis of publicly funded forensic laboratories’ transgressions

Professional and organizational wrongdoings of publicly funded forensic laboratories have led to destructive outcomes. These outcomes have weakened the public’s faith in the criminal justice system. A root cause analysis provided an understanding on why transgressions occur. Audit findings were qualitatively analyzed and categorized. The use of the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard and ASCLD/LAB ISO 2011 supplemental requirements in the root cause analysis allowed the researcher to isolate the fragile areas of the laboratories’ quality management system (QMS). Pareto analyses of the findings in the isolated areas revealed the potential causes of laboratories transgressions. The study revealed that transgressions ultimately occur due to inadequate leadership, poor establishment of a quality culture and objectives, and failure to maintain a quality system, which affect other areas of the QMS. Defining what quality means to publicly funded forensic laboratories, increasing leadership skills, and adapting a just culture can reduce or prevent these adverse events.