by team uab, lsw
This Washington Post article describes a government proposal to extend the policy of DNA sample collection (via cheek swabs) by federal authorities to include those arrested on federal charges, and some illegal immigrants detained by federal law enforcement. Currently, the federal government only collects DNA from those convicted of federal crimes. The proposed expansion builds on a growing state trend:
|The move comes as 13 states -- including Virginia and, recently, Maryland -- have passed laws to include many arrestees in their DNA databanks. California, which has more than 1 million profiles, will begin collecting DNA from all felony arrestees next year. The information will be uploaded to the national database, which today houses more than 5.9 million samples, making it the largest forensic DNA databank in the world..|
This development raises all kinds of issues, from immigrant rights, to privacy concerns raised by DNA collection, and to the question of how the DNA records of those who are arrested but not convicted (or whose convictions are overturned) are removed from the database. A good summary of the controversy can be found in the article.