Study: Untested Dna Allows Crime
A new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that as many as 150 violent crimes that occurred since 1993 could have been prevented if more states collected DNA samples from convicted felons.
Women’s and victims’ rights advocates are now calling on Congress to increase funding and expand national databases for criminal DNA samples.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Washington State University and a law firm based in Tacoma, Wash., found that local crime labs nationwide have failed to test evidence from over 540,000 unsolved crimes because of budget and personnel constraints.
Systems for collecting and testing DNA from convicted criminals vary across different states. At the time of the study, 19 states took DNA from violent criminals only, but critics argue that collecting DNA samples from non-violent convicted felons could prevent them from committing violent crimes in the future.
However, Barry Steinhardt from the American Civil Liberties Union cautions that extending DNA collection rules too far could infringe on privacy rights.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the USA Today (04/01/04); Willing, Richard .