The use of DNA technology has revolutionized the criminal justice system in the United States. It has meant that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes, survivors receive the justice they deserve and thousands more are spared the trauma and pain of sexual violence.
Studies show that individuals who commit serious crimes, like rape, are generally serial offenders who have also been convicted of lower-level misdemeanors. A single DNA sample often matches to multiple cold cases when entered into the New York DNA Databank. In fact, since New York began collecting DNA samples for some misdemeanor convictions in 2006, offender profiles from shoplifting and criminal trespass convictions alone have matched to 332 sexual assault cases.
And yet, current law limits the collection of DNA samples for entry into the Databank to offenders convicted of penal law felonies and only certain misdemeanors. As a result, the Databank captures offender profiles for only 46% of crimes in the state penal law.
It is now time for New York to use DNA to its fullest potential.
Please join Mariska, the Joyful Heart Foundation and a broad-based coalition of advocates, including the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, in supporting efforts to expand the New York DNA Databank. Send a message to your New York State representatives today, encouraging them to pass a bill that will bring healing and justice to survivors, hold violent offenders accountable, solve and prevent crimes and avoid wrongful conviction.
Click here to send your message.
Visit www.dnastopscrime.com to learn more about expanding New York State’s DNA Databank.
Women who are working hard to keep our country safe are being victimized at alarming rates. The Department of Defense estimated that 19,000 service members were raped or assaulted in 2009. Furthermore, the Pentagon detailed a 58.5 percent increase in reported sexual assaults at service academies in 2011. While we commend the brave women who are taking a stand in military schools and the active ranks, too few are coming forward: according to the DOD only 13.5 percent of assaults were reported.