Chicago: Law widens DNA tests for inmates

More than 200 inmates serving life sentences in Illinois state prisons will be required to provide DNA samples to be tested against a state database of evidence left from unsolved crimes, under a measure signed into law Monday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The action closes a loophole created after an August 2002 law required every felon sentenced after that time to have a sample of their DNA collected. The previous law called for felons who had been serving prison time before 2002 to have their DNA collected prior to being released from prison.

According to the new measure, 208 felons who had been serving life sentences prior to 2002 and who are not scheduled to be released from prison will have their DNA samples collected and compared to state and national databases, said Blagojevich. The results may help police solve crimes that have languished for years, the governor said.

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