February 14, 2008
By David Mendell Chicago Tribune
About 30,000 ex-felons in Illinois have not provided a sample for the state's DNA crime database as required by law, prompting Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan on Wednesday to convene a task force aimed at closing that gap.
Authorities plan to identify ex-offenders who have not provided a genetic sample and then compile a list to be distributed to all law enforcement in the state. Offenders who come into contact with authorities would be ordered to provide a cheek swab of DNA, Madigan said. Offenders who don't comply would face a misdemeanor charge.
In August 2002, Gov. George Ryan signed a law that required all felons to submit genetic material for inclusion in a DNA database. More than 275,000 have provided material, but Madigan estimated that 30,000 have not.
The DNA information is stored in state and national computer databases and then compared with evidence found at crime scenes. DNA profiles have aided in more than 6,000 investigations, assisting in both exoneration of the innocent and conviction of the guilty, Madigan said.
The collection gap largely results from a lag in getting DNA kits to authorities in the months after the law was enacted, Madigan said. Initially, samples were collected by blood tests, which slowed the process substantially.