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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Ina man named Will West was committed to the penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was photographed and measured bertollon the Bertillon system. Errors in taking the measurements were also a constant threat to the integrity of the system.

If the new laws were to be enforced, he believed, an accurate system would need to be in place to be able to differentiate between first-offenders and recidivists. The History of Sexuality, Vol. Recent opinions suggest that Will and William West were related, therefore the closeness in measurements. Alphonse Bertillon invented “anthropometrics”, a method with which to identify people based upon their individual measurements.

Suppose you find a bertillom that is. The final death knell for Bertillonage came when in the early years of the 20th century bedtillon 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 betrillon that is still in use today—namely, dactyloscopy, i.

In this activity, you will work with a partner to take Bertillon measurements for yourself. Bertjllon served his earlier sentence under the name William West and was now using the name Will West. Retrieved from ” http: Will West denied ever being incarcerated at the facility. Have the individuals remove their shoes and measure their height.

Bertillon System

Today, one sees the beginnings of a society in which one proposes to apply to every citizen the devices that had only been destined berttillon delinquents. Measure the length of the adult’s left foot from the wall to the tip of the big toe.

List at least 2 reasons why the Bertillon system is not and accurate tool to use as evidence in forensics. Anthropometrics relied upon the recorder being exact in his measurements. Of course, the new technique was fingerprinting, a much simpler process than Bertillonage.


Body height Outstretched reach of both arms Trunk height Width of the head Length of the head Length of the right ear Width of the right ear Length of the left foot Length of the left middle finger Length of the left little finger Length of the left forearm The choice between using the left or right sides was entirely arbitrary.

Bertillon System of Criminal Identification

If the recorder was tired or inattentive, the measurements could fail to identify a person. Although the bertlilon suggested that it would succeed, there were instances where it would fail. The prison officials pulled the earlier record and compared West to the photograph that had been taken earlier. Let us look at the three distinct parts of the Bartillonage process in some detail. By examining the photographs, one can see the failure of the Bertillon system.

His Bertillon measurements were taken and it was found that he’d served a previous term there. Standing side by side, the two men appeared to be identical twins, although it was later established that they were unrelated. Furthermore, their photographs showed that the two men bore a close physical resemblance to one another, although it was not clear that they were even related. What do feet reveal about a person’s height? The complexity of the Bertillon system—the very thing that provided it with such accurate and reliable data—also proved to be its downfall: Compare the Bertillon measurements in particular, keeping in mind the various factors that would affect the measurements.

Today, fingerprint analysis is used by law enforcement agencies all over the world to track down criminals and conclusively identify them. The third component of the Bertillonage process was photography.

A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification. The Bertillon Anthropometric System advertisement. Bertillonage as Government Technique. Kittler doesn’t tell us how he arrived at this precise figure, and its exactitude is highly dubious. Primarily, investigators used the Bertillon system to determine if a suspect in custody had been involved in previous crimes.

We could point bertiolon both the positive and negative aspects of Facebook—and social networking sites generally—as examples of what Agamben has in mind here—the sublimation of psycho-somatic existence into a purely digital life of information online.


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:.

Bertilln describes how the measurement process would have worked in any routine arrest at the time: 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: What do you get?

List the individuals name, height, and foot length. An arrest card for 17 year old Edward Blasco alias William Breen. Bertillon thought his system of anthropometric measurement of the criminal was the lag, and he was uniquely positioned to provide such a solution.

Metric Photography, Bertillon System: Standard Instructions for Contributors to Edited Collections. Name Height Foot Length 1. Jane Caplan and John Torpey, The Bertillon system continued as the dominant criminal identification method both in the U. What Bertillon did was standardize the process of criminal photography, and added the essential organizational element that allowed the photographs to be of some use to police officers trying to identify suspects and determine if they were in fact repeat offenders.

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.

Documents Flashcards Grammar checker. In the ensuing confusion surrounding the true identities of the two men, their fingerprints conclusively identified them and demonstrated clearly that the adoption of a fingerprint identification system was more reliable than the older Bertillon system.

University of Minnesota Press. The choice of features to be measured had to be based on their non-correlation as well as on their fixity and clarity.

His theory was that each person is highly individual.