Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Taking DNA from existing prisoners...

As you may have noticed I tend to be on the side of the individual against the State. However, I was somewhat surprised to discover that, in the UK, DNA has not been taken from existing prisoners.

Why not? You may ask...

Well, given the release of Mr Sean Hodgson after 27 years in prison for a crime which he did not commit, we may have an answer. First, the facts...
  • since April 2004 almost everyone arrested in England and Wales on suspicion of involvement in any recordable offence has had their DNA taken;
  • anyone in prison, but arrested before this date is not on the DNA database;
  • they are considering collecting these prisoners' DNA on release.
So why not take DNA from the existing long stay prisoners?

Given this extreme miscarriage of justice, it may well be that the State is not collecting their DNA because it would mean holding evidence that proved some of them innocent...


  1. Interesting, I don't think that DNA should be taken from exsisting prisoners because they have allready been found guilty and convicted without it, taking the DNA may turn up more crimes they commited that is true and im guessing fair, but as you said the ones who have done nothing it might actually prove they did nothing to start with. Imagine the claimes, the changes to the system, the law made to look a bigger fool that it does anyhow if it starts churning out innocent verdicts 10+yrs too late. I've had my DNA taken many times (2 in the last 4yrs) and not been charged with anything and I don't think its right they have it for various reasons ;) - DrF

  2. It's a difficult question isn't it. There is a good article by Bruce Schneier at, where he compares the data collecting around us to the pollution that collected around the industrial revolution.