50,000 Felons Released Without DNA Samples

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Missing a few is ok. 50,000? Not so much.

    So much for good intentions.

    A program designed to catalog ex-convicts in Illinois through their genetic material has failed.

    About 50,000 felons have been released from Illinois prisons and county probation systems without submitting DNA samples.

    Under Illinois law, every felon sentenced on or after Aug. 22, 2002, must provide DNA. The samples are stored in databases that can be used to link suspects to other cases.

    A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says nearly 10,000 felons were released from state prisons without providing DNA. And Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office estimates county probation departments didn't get samples from 40,000 additional felons due to delays in implementing the law.

    DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett helped push for collecting DNA from felons. And he says the failure to get samples from all felons means "serial murderers and rapists have probably remained on the loose."