Massachusetts is likely become the 28th state to use an expanded DNA database that includes samples from all convicted felons instead of just the most dangerous, the Boston Globe says. The measure could help identify suspects in many unsolved crimes.
House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran announced his support for the legislation, which is likely to be taken up today in the House’s first formal session of the fall. The bill has passed the Senate and will be signed by Governor Mitt Romney.
The state’s DNA database, established in 1998, requires samples from people convicted of one or more violent offenses. The new legislation would include samples from any convicted felon, enlarging the database of 20,000 samples to nearly 90,000. To obtain DNA samples, State Police would swab the inside of a convict’s mouth. The cost of the expansion is estimated at $3 million a year, which could be partially paid for with federal funds.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed the creation of the DNA database, is against its proposed expansion. “This bill includes a substantial number of crimes for which the rationale for having DNA doesn’t apply,” said legal director John Reinstein, referring to white-collar crimes and fraud.