Lab: Bertillon Measurement. Click link to view the file. ← Case Study Conviction Through Enhanced Fingerprint Identification. Bertillon Lab Activity. By using measuring tapes, students measured the length of their torsos, length of arm from elbow to middle finger and hand from wrist to. Side One. Side Two. Arrest card, ca. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, D.C.. An arrest card for 17 year old.

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Although many police departments and prisons continued to use Bertillon measurements, exclusively or supplementally, for some years, the Will West case effectively doomed the Bertillon System.

Compare the Bertillon measurements in particular, keeping in mind the various factors that would affect the measurements.

These abbreviations allowed the Bertillon operator to provided detailed physical descriptions on the limited space of the Bertillon card. The prison staff carefully repeated the Bertillon measurements on both men, and they were found to be identical within the error regarded as acceptable for the system.

Even though Bertillon did incorporate photography into his system, he did not fully embrace the medium as a completely effective tool for criminal identification. The Bertillon Anthropometric System Introduction: Suspects who were drunk, ill, or uncooperative would also result in inaccurate measurements. Including the Theory and Practice of Anthropometrical Identification. Bertillon thought his system of anthropometric measurement of the criminal was the answer, and he was uniquely positioned to provide such a solution.

The records clerk doubted this information, and referenced his Bertillon measurements into the system, retrieving the Bertillon card for a William West. Through the study of such artifacts, the public can learn about American law enforcement not only as it exists now, but also discover the history and influences that made the field what it is today.


Law enforcement agencies began to create archives of records of known criminals, which contained his or her anthropometric measurements, as well as full-face and profile photographs of the perpetrator now commonly known as “mugshots,” which are still in use today.

Bertillon, working in the Paris police prefecture at this time, was particularly concerned with the problem of recidivism.

Lab: The Bertillon Anthropometric System

Agamben continues with an intriguing yet dubious call for a sort of post-human affectivity that might attend the diminution of identity into pure biological data: During his in-processing, the records clerk obtained Will West’s Bertillon measurements betrillon photograph. Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino.

West denied that, despite the fact that his measurements “proved” that he’d done so. This system was initially accepted and used by various law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

Bertillon System

Hence judicial lb based on false identification will likewise disappear. Navigation Main page Recent brtillon. Thanks to a French genius, errors of identification will soon cease to exist not only in France but also in the entire world. This represented a noteworthy bid to move away from a model confined to generalizations: The young Alphonse Bertillon had trouble settling on a career—he spent some time in medical school but left after passing the bertiillon exam—so his father used his influence to get Alphonse a post in the police prefecture, which he assumed on March 15, Kaluszynski Measure the length of the adult’s left foot from the wall to the tip of the big toe.

Primarily, investigators used the Bertillon system to determine if a suspect in custody had been involved in previous crimes. File – Foot and Ankle Center of Durham. It was eventually displaced by fingerprint analysis, although Bertillon bertilloh were commonly used in conjunction with fingerprinting into the early decades of the 20th century. Alphonse Bertillon was a French criminologist who first developed this anthropometric system of physical measurements of body parts, especially components of the head and face, to produce a detailed description of an individual.


Today, one sees the beginnings of a society in which one proposes to apply to every citizen the devices that had only been destined for delinquents. Bertillon anticipated these problems, writing a strongly-worded message in his instruction manual directed towards all those who would consider meddling with his finally tuned methods:. Forensic anthropologists team up with law enforcers to help solve crimes. One clear consequence of anthropometry was a concomitant wholesale reduction of the status of the human individual and his or her own sense of personal identity.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Agamben suggests that all may not be lost in this biometric control society, for it is precisely at the moment in which identity in its classical sense has been utterly debased that new potentialities are unveiled: A quick note to readers: Standing side by side, the two men appeared to be identical twins, although it was later established that they were unrelated.

They had no doubt that he was the same man. The final death knell for Bertillonage came when in the early years of the 20th century it was swiftly disposed by a more streamlined and reliable form of identification, one that has an ancient origin but that had only begun to be used for criminal identification—mainly in colonial contexts—in the midth century, and one that is still in use today—namely, dactyloscopy, i.

This failure strengthened the science of fingerprints as the normally accepted method of personal identification. Personal tools Log in. William West was quickly produced, and everyone marveled at the similarities.

Bertillon System of Criminal Identification. Subsequent investigation disclosed that William West was already incarcerated in the facility as of September 9,