A new Texas law requires all convicted felons to provide a blood sample for DNA analysis for a national criminal database. Previously, reports the Dallas Morning News, only people convicted of murder, burglary, or aggravated assault and all registered sex offenders were required to give blood samples for the Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS. The 2003 legislation went into effect when the state received a $2.1 million federal grant to pay for the testing.
Arthur Eisenberg, director of the DNA Identity Laboratory at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, called CODIS “one of the most valuable tools available to police…It’s really a numbers game,” Eisenberg said. “The more samples in the database, the more connections.” Last year, the state entered 23,426 DNA profiles from Texas offenders into the database, helping raise the total to more than 168,000.
Texas is one of the leading states in using the database and is responsible for about 10 percent of the convicted offender entries, Eisenberg said. Virginia, which enters every convicted felon, leads with 185,000 entries. Florida has 175,000. “Criminals commit multiple crimes,” Eisenberg said. “The repeat offender rate is extremely high. This is an incredible tool to identify the perpetrator.”