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NCJ Number: 183822 Find in a Library
Title: Big Brother and His Science Kit: DNA Databases for 21st Century Crime Control?
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:90  Issue:2  Dated:Winter 2000  Pages:635-690
Author(s): Paul E. Tracy Ph.D.; Vincent Morgan
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 55
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the cost-effectiveness of the forensic application of DNA technology and the construction of scientific databases that contain DNA information on offenders.
Abstract: Part II provides a brief introduction to DNA testing and its increasing application in criminal jurisprudence. This section focuses on Federal initiatives intended to expand the use of DNA and DNA databases based on DNA's reputed evidentiary value. Part III provides an analysis of the efficacy of DNA testing and associated databases, from both a "pure" effectiveness basis (i.e., DNA's impact on crime) and a "cost" effectiveness standpoint (i.e., the crime level effect per unit cost of DNA testing and storage). Part IV reviews predictions of what the future may hold for DNA and related databases, as well as the normative policy concerns regarding current use and likely future expansion. The goal of this section is to provide informative commentary on the fundamental question examined: Are we better off living in a world where our most basic and singularly unique characteristics are on file, serving as a constant shadow over our daily lives? Part V discusses how DNA databases are being designed and presents findings from a survey of the existing law in the United States as to their present structure. The paper concludes that the invasiveness and cost of DNA databases, along with their questionable impact on crime control (the bulk of property offenses do not involve DNA collection and analysis) warrant careful scrutiny of the supposed benefits that many law enforcement and elected officials are quick to claim but slow to demonstrate. 9 tables and 182 notes
Main Term(s): Police information systems
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; DNA fingerprinting; Evidence preservation; Police legal limitations
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