One of the more interesting ideas coming out of the Spitzer-era Albany is the former A.G.’s keen interest in a massive DNA database as the tool for fighting crime. Right now, New York State has DNA info from 250,000 criminals on file; the first part of Spitzer’s proposal would increase that total by 20 percent by giving the ol’ cotton swab to every prisoner, parolee, and probationer. Phase Two would involve harvesting DNA from just about anyone convicted of anything, including misdemeanors. Much like Bloomberg and his congestion-pricing initiative, the governor seems to be looking to London for inspiration. Great Britain, which swabs all arrestees, has the world’s most extensive DNA database with over four million samples on hand (that’s 6 percent of the Isles’ population, including some children under 16). It seems to be working there, too — Gotham Gazette has collared some impressive stats on DNA-related convictions and exonerations. But, still, if Alberto Gonzales were behind this plan, wouldn’t we all be a little terrified right about now?
The Move to Expand DNA Testing [Gotham Gazette]