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In a project supported by the National Institute of Justice, PERF conducted a national assessment of the state of the field regarding eyewitness identification procedures used by law enforcement agencies. The survey, the first of its kind, gauges the extent to which law enforcement agencies have implemented guidelines issued by NIJ in 1999 that were designed to increase the reliability of eyewitness identifications.
Eyewitness identifications can be compelling evidence in court. However, there has been a growing recognition that eyewitness identifications can be unreliable, based in part on the growing number of exonerations of persons who were convicted of crimes due to faulty eyewitness identifications.
PERF's survey found that law enforcement agencies nationwide have made some progress in implementing the NIJ guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. However, most law enforcement agencies have not implemented the full range of NIJ guidelines.