Law Says Ill. Inmates Must Get DNA Tests, But Some 50K Weren't Done
A state law took effect in Illinois in 2002 requiring officials to collect DNA samples from convicts before they were released from prison or county probation.
But officials didn’t do so for perhaps 50,000 released individuals, reports the Chicago Tribune. Among the reasons why are a shortage of both test kids and individuals qualified to draw blood, as the DNA testing initially required. The technology has since changed, and mouth swabs can be used instead of blood samples.
The state attorney general is now conducting a survey to try to determine how many required tests weren’t performed. Not conducting the tests has hampered both efforts to identity those guilty of crimes and exonerate those who are innocent despite criminal convictions, the newspaper reports.
Now officials are trying to figure out how to collect DNA samples from those who were released without testing.
“Serial murderers and rapists have probably remained on the loose, and families have continued to suffer,” says DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett. “We need to find a way to get that DNA.”