Russia to create severe offenders DNA database

by jeeg 24. October 2011 22:53

The Russian newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, writes that moving forward the DNA of most aggressive criminals will be stored in a special government registry. Every penitentiary will have special Ministry of Interior labs that will take blood samples from severe offenders and store them for future reference. The article suggests that the criminals that were incarcerated for serious offences, such as rape, murder and armed assault are unlikely to become law-abiding citizens after their release; chances are, the prison will make hardened and cunning criminals out of them. This year administrative supervision for ex-convicts was introduced, and with the new DNA databases introduced as well, criminals will know the authorities will be able to easily identify them, should they become repeat offenders. Previously, there were no such extensive databases employed by the Russian police - if there was DNA evidence present, it had to be compared to samples from dozens or even hundreds of suspects to identify the culprit - and sometimes the perpetrator was not even among the suspects. The unified database of severe offenders will help speed up DNA identification for future crimes. However, experts note that DNA identification is not a sure methods - for instance, in the UK a man was wrongfully accused of rape based on DNA evidence, only to be found impotent; the real perpetrator was successfully found later. On the other hand, genome registration may acquit wrongfully accused in cases where no DNA testing was initially used. For example, a similar project was carried out in the US, with DNA testing clearing people that have been wrongfully-imprisoned for several years. Legal experts suggest that if there is still evidence, it can be investigated and tested, should the defense convince the court to reopen a particular case. However, the article concludes that in Russia material evidence is not stored for long and courts would unlikely hear pleas to conduct new tests.

Peter Lekarev, The Voice of Russia

 

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