Research / Themes / Trends in governance / Use of DNA evidence

With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Temple researchers explored the formulation of DNA criminal justice policies in Pennsylvania, and their impacts on prosecutors and defenders. The enabling pieces of legislation in Pennsylvania were examined, and relevant state lawmakers and their staff were interviewed. Pennsylvania developments were placed in the context of Federal legislative developments, and the Federal-state dynamics described. Policies mandating the collection of samples for DNA analysis from convicted offenders and/or arrestees include the deterrence of recidivist acts as one of their goals. Enabling legislation speaks directly to this goal, and subsequent court cases have supported it. The rush of state legislatures to expand the pool of offenders from whom samples must be collected, an expansion that has sometimes taken place with the strong encouragement of federal agencies, is undermining that very deterrence goal.

Related faculty

Ralph Taylor

John Goldkamp

Selected publications

Taylor, RB, Goldkamp, JS, Weiland, DS., Breen, C., Garcia, RM, Presley, LA, & Wyant, BR (2007) Revise policies mandating offender DNA collection, Criminology and Public Policy, Volume 6, Issue 4: 2301-2312.