Ky. announces plan to ensure DNA taken from felons

Kentucky corrections officials announced plans Wednesday to fix a faulty system to ensure DNA samples are in f act taken from every Kentucky felon as required by law, acknowledging the failure to collect samples was more widespread than first reported,” NKy.comreported this morning --- stating that “at the time, the state said DNA had been collected from 75,600 felons since a 2009 change in Kentucky law required DNA samples from every felon, the state disclosing back in July it had failed to collect DNA samples from about 6,300 felons over that four-year period. The Department of Corrections Wednesday reported that an investigation found the number of missing samples actually totaled about 16,000.”

The article continued by reporting that “the investigative report cited a number of factors that led to the missing DNA samples, including a lack of accountability and follow-up measures. It said there was no disciplinary action for not collecting DNA, and employee performance evaluations didn’t take into account DNA collections… While the implementation plan was thorough, there was a lack of sufficient controls, accountability measures or a reliable database to ensure compliance,” according to the report.

Ky. Gov. Beshear said “(Their) Department of Corrections has implemented an aggressive action plan to retrieve DNA from these offenders in an expedited and efficient manner…. DNA collection is mandated by law, and I fully expect all our agencies not only to collect the samples, but also to maintain accurate records of such, so that our DNA databases are up-to-date for law enforcement use.”  [ KRS 17.170 and  KRS 17.175 ]

“Some of those felons who owe DNA samples are still in custody; others will have to report to probation and parole offices to provide samples, and nearly 85 percent of the missed DNA samples are for people convicted of property and drug-related crimes,” according to the corrections department, which is also reporting its plan includes a multi-level review already put in place to ensure a sample is taken from every offender prior to release from custody or supervision. Also, every probation and parole supervisor receives a daily list with names of offenders who haven’t given samples.

“… samples are being collected immediately after the arrest of felons who avoided giving samples during their prior time in custody.”

Copies of the Kentucky Department of Corrections action plan encompasses many of the recommendations made in an investigative report by the Office of the Inspector General requested by Governor Steve Beshear.