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Collecting DNA From Sex Offenders

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

Taking DNA from sex offenders is actually fairly easy to do, but many simply don't realize how it all works. There are no vials of blood taken. The only cavity used in the mouth. The process is actually fairly simple. In fact, the entire procedure from start to finish takes only a few minutes for the sex offender, and around twenty minutes or so for the law enforcement staff to complete the process. The DNA is kept on file, which can help to solve future crimes, should that be needed. Let's take a quick look at how to collect DNA from sex offenders, from start to finish. It's actually much easier, and less intrusive than most people think.

The Kit:

It all really starts off with a small kit provided by the crime lab. The kit contains several bar code stickers, similar those you see at many stores, a couple of long cotton swabs with wooden handles, and several envelopes. In addition, there is an informational sheet that is used to enter all the personal data for the DNA donor, in this case, a sex offender.

Personal Data:

You will need to fill in as much personal data as you can when you collect DNA from sex offenders. It is not necessary that all fields be filled in, since there are occasions when they simply cannot be, but all that can be filled in, should be. Here is what is gathered for the sex offenders. Most of this information is available for law enforcement without the individual's consent or presence needed.

1. Full name. This will include the full middle name of the subject. Obviously, this is used for identification of the sex offender that the DNA is being collected from.

2. Social security number: This should be filled in, whenever possible. Occasionally it is not filled out. This may still be okay, provided you are unable to locate the number, and the sex offender in question does not know their own social security number. This is not nearly as uncommon as you may think.

3. Contact information: This will include a current address and telephone number. This is used to track the sex offenders, and is posted on the national registry. This is a mandatory field.

4. Various ID numbers: Department of Corrections numbers, FBI numbers, and a few other possibilities round out the needed information. These numbers, just like all the items listed, are used as additional sources of identification.

Collection of DNA:

When the sex offender shows up to submit to the DNA testing, there are some things which must be followed precisely. There is very little room for error, so it's important to make sure you follow the procedures exactly.

1. Check identification: You must make sure you are collecting the DNA from the sex offender, and not somebody else. Check the subject's driver's license, or other form of identification to ensure you have the right person. Don't be fooled, it's not impossible for sex offenders to try to send in somebody else.

2. Verify identification items listed above: Most of the time, the sex offenders are fully cooperative. It's wise to simply ask if the address listed is correct, and verify other numbers like the social security number. The sex offender giving the DNA sample will most likely not know their Department of Corrections or FBI numbers. If they haven't already signed any forms, make sure they do so. You will typically receive a separate paper, with very similar data from the sex offender, which is kept on site, or given to a probation or parole officer. This varies by location.

3. Glove up: You will need to wear gloves to avoid contamination of the DNA evidence the sex offender submits. In addition, when the fingerprints are taken, it eliminates the possibility of getting some of your own print on the forms, which could cause some obvious problems.

4. Take fingerprints: Generally speaking, you will only need to take the index finger, and possibly the thumb prints. These are needed in several places of the forms, and generally must be done the old fashioned way, with ink.

5. Remove sterile cotton swabs: You need to be careful not to contaminate the swabs by allowing the cotton portion to touch any items that could contaminate them.

6. Take the DNA sample from the sex offender: This is done in the mouth. You will roll the swab several times between the cheek and gums of the subject. There is typically no need to go beyond the molars.

7. The sex offender submitting the DNA is typically free to go at this point.

8. Allow the swabs to air dry: This can take up to twenty minutes.

9. Make copies: You will need to make copies of the information sheets which will be kept on site, or at the probation and parole office, depending on the location. It does vary a little by agency.

10. Place the swabs into the corresponding envelopes: You cannot lick the envelope to seal it. This could contaminate the swabs with your DNA, which could cause some obvious problems in the future. You will be provided with seals to use, similar to tape. This must be initialed and dated.

11. Attach all needed bar codes: There are several of them, all of which go in a specific location. The collection kit spells out where each one goes.

12. Mail the package: You won't need to provide postage, since it's all already marked as prepaid. Some agencies require all incoming and outgoing mail to be logged. This will vary by agency.

As you can see, the process for collecting DNA evidence from sex offenders is not that terribly difficult. While it may not be that hard, it is something that must be taken seriously. The information is stored to help solve future crimes. This may be very important in the future, should the sex offender commit any some sort of crime in the future. The process is one of the many important services that local law enforcement provides.


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Comments

Oct 15, 2009 11:30pm
galleryofgrace
Just so the public knows sex offenders are not the only ones who must submit dna into the system. Almost all states are requiring offenders in state and federal prisons to do this.
great article!
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