Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Pick On The Unsympathetic Targets....

...then move on to everyone else:
Former prisoners who have served their sentences and been released could be tracked down and forced to give DNA samples to the police.

Government plans to be published in the New Year could also see the police entering jails to take samples from serving prisoners who are not on the National DNA Database.
Because who’s going to complain?

Me, for a start:
The Home Office is preparing to publish a White Paper proposing major changes to the collection and retention of genetic material from people arrested, charged or convicted.

Following a legal victory for civil rights campaigners, the review is likely to lead to time limits on how long profiles of those that have been arrested but not convicted may be held.
Why a time limit? Innocent is innocent – as soon as charges are dropped, the DNA should be dropped too.
Yet people convicted of serious crimes years or even decades ago could face a new move to put them on the database. Murderers and rapists released after serving their sentences could be visited by the police for samples.
Read that again – ‘after serving their sentences’. They are free men and women and have paid their debt to society. To harass them for DNA after release is unconscionable.

But this is, of course, merely the thin end of the wedge....

6 comments:

willwilliamsdh said...

Conviction of a crime justifies interference with that person's civil rights. Where the crime was thought to be serious enough to justify a custodial sentence, greater interference is justified.

A prisoner convicted of a serious crime is likely to be released on licence before the formal end of the custodial sentence. I do not see making that release conditional on the prisoner giving a DNA sample to the national database as the thin end of a wedge.

But I agree that it would be wrong to require those convicted of serious crimes years or decades ago, and who have not been convicted again, to have to give a DNA sample

JuliaM said...

"A prisoner convicted of a serious crime is likely to be released on licence before the formal end of the custodial sentence. I do not see making that release conditional on the prisoner giving a DNA sample to the national database as the thin end of a wedge."

No, I'd agree with that, subject to this being:

a) imposed from a 'cut off' date, and
b) the DNA sample to be destroyed after the licence period has run out.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Not too bothered if they are
1/ currently in Jail
or
2/ were given a life sentence.

paul ilc said...

Whenever I hear talk of prisoners' rights,I want to revive the concept of the outlaw. If you have been duly convicted of an offence requiring a custodial sentence, your 'human rights' should be suspended for the duration of the sentence. Prison should be nasty; it should involve severe curtailment of liberty and 'rights'. Furthermore, as most ex-cons are recidivists, it seems only prudent to get their dna on the database.

I don't see this as a slippery slope or the thin edge of the wedge.

JuliaM said...

"If you have been duly convicted of an offence requiring a custodial sentence, your 'human rights' should be suspended for the duration of the sentence."

I agree with that. But this proposal is suggesting that after the serving of the sentence, they are allowed to come back for a second bite, and subject you to a process that wasn't legal when you made your first error, and paid for it accordingly.

And this is going to sweep up the 'single criminal act' with the long-term career thief.

So that really IS the thin end of the wedge...

paul ilc said...

But, as it's for a clearly defined group (ie of cons and some ex-cons), there are minimal grounds to argue that it's the thin edge of the wedge or a slippery slope.

Excellent blog, btw.