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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220761 Find in a Library
Title: Revise Policies Mandating Offender DNA Collection
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:851-862
Author(s): Ralph B. Taylor; John S. Goldkamp; Doris Weiland; Clarissa Breen; R. Marie Garcia; Lawrence A. Presley; Brian R. Wyant
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 12
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that the deterrence objective of current legislation which expands the collection of samples for DNA analysis from convicted offenders and/or arrestees is being undermined by the inability of existing labs to analyze and upload DNA samples into a database for comparison.
Abstract: Specific or individual deterrence occurs if a current offender is dissuaded from offending in the future because he/she is convinced of the swiftness, certainty, and severity of the formal punishment that would occur. General deterrence seeks to dissuade the population, offenders and nonoffenders alike, from offending in the future because of the swift, certain, and severe punishment. For both types of deterrence, risk of detection is pivotal. If the expansion of the collection of DNA samples for analysis and inclusion in a database for comparative analysis of DNA found at crime scenes is to be a deterrent, then potential offenders must believe that their DNA is actually in such a database and will lead to their arrest and conviction. In fact, serious DNA processing lags currently exist and are not likely to be reduced to a minimal level any time soon. This means that offenders and arrestees who have been required to submit samples for DNA analysis have no reason to believe that their DNA profiles will be in a database for comparison any time soon. The authors recommend withdrawing all bills currently being considered for expanding the pool of offenders required to submit samples for DNA analysis. Further, legislation should be enacted to reduce the current scope of convicted felony offenders who are required to submit samples for DNA analyses until legislators have verified that collected samples are analyzed and uploaded to a central database in a short time. 19 references
Main Term(s): Effectiveness of crime prevention programs
Index Term(s): Data analysis; Data collections; Databases; Deterrence effectiveness; DNA fingerprinting; State laws; Suspect identification
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