by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 17, 2008 in DNA and the Law, Polls About DNA
If it were up to Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman* for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), my DNA would have been put in a national database from the time I started school. Yes, I admit I was a little bully and perhaps that would have identified me as a future offender although I don’t think I’m quite bad enough to lock up. Yet….
Pugh claims that criminology studies show children as young as five will behave in ways which predict their potential to commit crime in the future. These “problem children” should have their DNA collected for crime prevention.
If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large. You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.
By committing children’s DNA to the national database, Pugh asserts that society will save money and suffer less crime. It’s estimated that in the UK, 1.5 million samples of DNA from 10 to 18-year-olds will be in the national DNA database by March 2009. Similar collection procedures apply to juveniles as well as to adults who can be asked to give a DNA sample upon arrest even if they are not charged or convicted.
A recent report from the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) called for children to be targeted between the ages of five and 12 with cognitive behavioural therapy, parenting programmes and intensive support. Prevention should start young, it said, because prolific offenders typically began offending between the ages of 10 and 13.
As a parent, I have observed that certain children do seem to exhibit more “problem” behavior than others but it is very difficult to tell whether that is due to evil temperament that won’t change or if it’s the result of family environment or who knows what other mysterious factors that mold our behavior. No criminology assessment can be 100% predictive and there is no way I would allow my child’s DNA to be systematically collected for a DNA database unless every single citizen is mandated by law to give theirs too.
Pugh suggests that we stop thinking of DNA so emotionally.
Fingerprints, somehow, are far less contentious. We have children giving their fingerprints when they are borrowing books from a library.
I did not know libraries fingerprint their users but guess what? I think it’s nuts too!
Putting aside that no sane adult would want their DNA in a national database without good reason, what about our children? What kind of world are we living in when innocent children are viewed not in terms of their positive potential but in terms of their criminal potential?!
What do you think about collecting DNA from innocent children? Take the poll after the break.
*DNA spokesman? Sounds like a newly created job title. If you’re looking for a DNA spokesperson, email me! I’m available.
More on Collecting DNA from Children for National DNA Databases...
New York To Collect More DNA for State Database...
Fake Names in the UK National DNA Database...
Trial By DNA...
Partial DNA Match for Nailing Criminals...
Police Want to Collect Abandoned DNA from Everyone...
DNAWitness Bio-Geographical Ancestry DNA Test for Fighting Crime...
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Search Eye on DNA
- Genetic Genealogy on Faces of America
- DNA Network Tweet Cloud
- Genetics = Real Science
- Larry David’s DNA Test
- Lopez Tonight First Late-Night Show to Offer DNA Testing
- American Genes Don’t Exist
- Knowledge about Genetic Risk is Power or is it Fear?
- Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It
- Video: Knome’s Ari Kiirikki Speaks with Medgadget
- DNA Toys: Ben 10 and Digimon Digivice
- 100 Facts About DNA
- Salaries for Jobs in Genetics
- Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question...Or Not
- How To Determine Paternity Without A DNA Test
- What does DNA mean to you?
- Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R
- Books About DNA: The Crime of Reason by Robert B. Laughlin
- Genetically Modified Organisms Bring in the Cash
- Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service
- People Who’ve Had Their Genomes Sequenced
09/29/2009 07:03 am
- Larry David’s DNA Test
11/17/2009 02:52 am
- 23andMe DNA Tests for $399, Down From $999
09/10/2008 04:33 am
- Crazy Genetic Marketing Ideas
07/05/2008 09:14 pm
- Parenting Children Using Genetic Tests
05/18/2009 02:09 am
- Business of DNA
- DNA @ Google Answers
- DNA and Disease
- DNA and Genealogy
- DNA and the Law
- DNA Around the World
- DNA Fun
- DNA in General
- DNA Inventions and Gadgets
- DNA Lab Talk
- DNA Podcasts and Videos
- DNA Quotes and Excerpts
- DNA Testing
- Gene Therapy
- Genetic Engineering
- Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- Jobs Involving DNA
- Personalities with DNA
- Polls About DNA
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- Off The Road
- Philosophy of Genetics
- Enoch Choi at MedHelp
- Flu Patrol
- QUEST Science Blog
- Mary Meets Dolly