Studying the Implications of Expanding DNA Databases

Sidebar to the article Collecting DNA From Arrestees: Implementation Lessons by Julie Samuels, Elizabeth Davies, Dwight Pope and Ashleigh Holand

In 2010, the Urban Institute began an NIJ-funded study to examine the policies, practices and implications of expanding state and federal DNA databases to include arrestees. Key research questions for the project include:

  • How do the laws and policies regarding arrestee DNA collection differ by state?
  • How have the laws been implemented in each state?
  • What have been the challenges of requiring DNA collection from arrestees across the criminal justice system?
  • What evidence is available regarding the effects of collecting DNA from arrestees on public safety or other justice outcomes?

To answer these questions, researchers have been reviewing and cataloging state laws, interviewing laboratory and criminal justice representatives in jurisdictions with arrestee DNA laws, and collecting descriptive statistics from states on the volume of arrestee profiles entered into the Combined DNA Index System and resulting hits. The final report, expected in late 2012, will explore issues identified in this article in greater detail, address broader issues concerning the rationale and benefits of arrestee DNA collection, and present findings from data collection and analysis.

Back to: Collecting DNA From Arrestees: Implementation Lessons.

Date Created: June 15, 2012