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F.B.I. And States Vastly Expanding Databases of DNA

Publication Date: 
April 19, 2009
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
Solomon Moore

Professor Henry T. "Hank" Greely is quoted in The New York Times in an article on the extent of DNA databases in the criminal justice system and their racial disparities:

Law enforcement officials say that expanding the DNA databanks to include legally innocent people will help solve more violent crimes. They point out that DNA has helped convict thousands of criminals and has exonerated more than 200 wrongfully convicted people.

But criminal justice experts cite Fourth Amendment privacy concerns and worry that the nation is becoming a genetic surveillance society.

...

As in Britain, expanding genetic sampling in the United States could exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, according to Hank Greely, a Stanford University Law School professor who studies the intersection of genetics, policing and race. Mr. Greely estimated that African-Americans, who are about 12 percent of the national population, make up 40 percent of the DNA profiles in the federal database, reflective of their prison population. He also expects Latinos, who are about 13 percent of the population and committed 40 percent of last year’s federal offenses — nearly half of them immigration crimes — to dominate DNA databases.