Missed Opportunities

Felons released without submitting DNA samples

By BJ Lutz
|  Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 9:45 PM CDT
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Missed Opportunities

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When a felon is released from Illinois prisons or county probation, they're supposed to submit a DNA sample so authorities can attempt to link known criminals to unsolved crimes.

That's not happening, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday night, and robs the state of valuable crime-fighting information.

Exactly how many people have not submitted samples, as required under the 7-year-old law, is unknown, but the newspaper puts the number as high as 50,000.

A lack of DNA collection kits and trained personnel is mostly to blame, according to a state police spokesman.

On the plus side, the state has been able to collect samples from more than 300,000 felons, and the DNA database has produced about 9,000 hits -- that is, the identity of a suspect or an association between cases.

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