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DNA Saves: More States are Finding Collecting DNA Upon Arrest Saves Lives, Money and Time

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 28,30,37
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
February 2009
9 pages
This article examines arguments for and against arrestee DNA legislation, requiring law enforcement to collect DNA for most felony arrests and upload it to the State DNA databank.
The State of New Mexico became the sixth State to enact legislation requiring law enforcement to collect DNA for most felony arrests and upload the information to the State DNA databank, and to date there are 15 States with similar laws. To many, arrestee DNA legislation makes sense, and to those same supporters, building a DNA database with samples from the unconvicted is no different than collecting fingerprints. It is also maintained that arrestee DNA collection makes the criminal justice system more efficient and effective, as well as cost-effective over the long term. However, opponents and critics proclaim it is a violation of civil rights, and that collecting DNA for every arrest costs the State more money. There is also concern on the lack of provision for the tracking of DNA expungement upon a not guilty finding or never prosecuted as required by Federal law, and the impact on the current DNA backlog. This article discusses the many arguments on the effectiveness of arrestee DNA legislation nationwide.