The DNA Flood: FBI's DNA Workload Keeps Growing

by Ben Protess, ProPublica - May 5, 2009

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The timeline below shows how recent federal laws have flooded the FBI’s lab with DNA samples. You will see that in 2003, before the laws were passed, only 7,000 samples entered the lab. By 2012, there will be about 1.2 million. What caused such a surge? For starters, the 2004 Justice for All Act required that DNA be taken from all federal convicts, regardless of the severity of their crimes. Then, in 2005, Congress ramped up DNA collection again, this time in the Violence Against Women Act. The law requires DNA from anyone arrested for a federal crime, even if they weren’t ultimately convicted, and from anyone detained by federal authorities. Please note that this expanded collection did not begin until March of this year and will take about three years to reach the 1.2 million mark.

  • 2003

    7,000 DNA samples

  • 2004

    7,000 DNA samples

    The Justice for All Act was passed on Oct. 30, 2004. According to the FBI, an increase in DNA submissions was seen by December 2004.

  • 2005

    63,000 DNA samples

    In just one year, the Justice for All Act caused a nine-fold increase in DNA samples submitted to the FBI's lab.

  • 2006

    91,200 DNA samples

  • 2007

    80,000 DNA samples

  • 2008

    76,000 DNA samples

  • 2009-2012

    1,275,000 DNA samples

    Federal authorities must now collect DNA samples from anyone they arrest or detain. The FBI expects that by 2012, the number of DNA samples submitted to its lab each year will increase to 1.2 million.

Source: FBI

Produced by Krista Kjellman, ProPublica