This report provides policymakers, legislative decisionmakers, and allied criminal justice professionals with 1) an informational overview of the current issues associated with collecting, tracking, and testing lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders; 2) a review of legislation associated with collecting lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders; and 3) a list of state legislation that could result in failure to effectively collect, track, and test lawfully owed DNA samples.
Convicted offender DNA sample collection laws vary in each state in terms of what type of offense obligates an offender to provide a sample, whether a conviction should be the trigger for sample collection, and which agency is responsible for collecting the sample. Because of this interstate variability, the effectiveness of DNA sample collection laws may vary, and in some cases this can result in missed opportunities to identify and collect lawfully owed DNA samples. In those situations, modifying current legislative language could provide the needed clarification to improve policies and practices associated with collecting DNA samples from convicted offenders. To provide examples of legislation that may offer an improved approach to addressing lawfully owed DNA samples, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, in partnership with AEquitas, conducted a legislative review and analysis of statutes associated with the collection, tracking, and testing of DNA samples from convicted offenders. This report does not aim to recommend a specific legislative preference regarding DNA collection laws but rather to identify areas where questions and conflicts may arise and subsequently highlight jurisdictions that have drafted statutes that address and minimize those issues.