Missouri investigators are hoping that since a law mandating the DNA testing of all felons went into effect Saturday, they will be able to stop serial killers and rapists before the victims pile up, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sen. Matt Bartle, who sponsored the law, hopes that in some cases, “the fact that we have (their) DNA in the database will act as a deterrent” to someone considering a crime.” Officials have been scrambling to get enough equipment and staff to begin the program and collect up to 100,000 samples the first year.
The state crime lab now tests about 2,300 samples from violent felons and sexual predators a year. In 2004, the patrol estimates it will have 12 times that many. Lab workers immediately face a tremendous backlog of about 80,000 men and women who are in prison or on probation or parole and soon will require testing under the law. Each week, an average of 400 convicted felons leave the system, released from probation, parole or prison. State officials and lab workers see that as 400 potential samples lost forever unless that person is convicted of another crime.