DNA Profile Collection Completed
In July 2011, the Michigan Legislature passed, and Governor Rick Snyder signed into law, an amendment to Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) section 791.233d of the Corrections Code of 1953, titled "Samples for DNA Identification Profiling." The amendment gives prison officials the ability to take DNA samples from prisoners currently housed in state correctional facilities without delay. Specifically, the law states:
"(a) For a prisoner serving a sentence in a state correctional facility or a probationer in a special alternative incarceration program on June 1, 2011, the samples shall be obtained not later than January 1, 2012. However, if the prisoner or probationer is released on parole, placed in a community placement facility of any kind, including a community corrections center or a community residential home, or discharged upon completion of his or her maximum sentence before January 1, 2012, the samples shall be obtained before the date of release, placement, or discharge.
"(b) For a prisoner serving a sentence in a state correctional facility or a probationer in a special alternative incarceration program whose sentence begins after June 1, 2011, the samples shall be obtained not later than 90 days after the date on which the prisoner or probationer is committed to the jurisdiction of the department."
Prior to this amendment, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) could only take samples of prisoners near release from prison who had not yet provided one. That meant there were nearly 5,000 prisoners still in the system who, through use of DNA profiling, could not be identified or ruled out as suspects in unsolved crimes here in Michigan and throughout the United States. The passage of this amendment ensured all prisoners currently in the prison system had their DNA profile submitted to the Michigan State Police (MSP).
The MDOC is a "can do" agency. Upon passage of the bill, facility administrators, supervisors, health care workers and line staff at facilities throughout the state immediately went to work collecting DNA samples from those 5,000 prisoners. In just three months, the Department has collected and submitted to MSP samples from all prisoners currently in MDOC custody (HYTA prisoners excluded).
Director Dan Heyns said of the effort, "I had no doubt our staff would get this done in the time provided. These are highly capable people who want to see justice served in unsolved cases as much as their law enforcement counterparts in the field. Getting DNA profiles of those 6,000 prisoners into the system will provide immediate results in some of those cases, helping law enforcement agencies get answers and giving victims some closure."