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Criminal Identification News: “databank” with DNA samples and fingerprints from all prisoners, in Uruguay.

Uruguay seeks to create a genetic database with the DNA of all prison population. The proceeds will not be invasive, just mouth/buccal samples, or from neck, armpit or other body part. In that sense the Constitution and Law Committee of the Senate of Uruguay advances in the treatment of the draft bill to create DNA & fingerprints dababase. The bill has preliminary approval of the Chamber of Deputies (Congress).

If approved this will be a unique criminal identification tool for police work. In the creation of the bill, participated police authorities and scientists from the National Technical Police Institute of the Ministry of Interior of Uruguay. The draft has 14 articles, is a very simple law but essential to fight crime.

Recently, the national director of Technical Police, Chief Inspector Roberto De los Santos, the biologist Natalia Sansgberg and the legal counsel Joseph Messiah, atended the sessionss of the senaturial committee.

Police Chief Inspector De los Santos told the legislators that the approval of the crime databank law in our country would put Uruguay in a “privileged position in the international fight against crime.”   He noted that the legislation would allow the police to “register the entire prison population in the new data system including  ten-print fingerprint, AFIS Automated Fingerprint Identification system digitized, acquired and implemented and, in turn, with the genetic fingerprint in a project similar to Codis (*), complementing the identification” .

“It should be noted that this serves to police work, for the prevention, for relief to justice and accuracy that has to have the police with  the suspects while delivering them to the judges,” said De los Santos in the Senate.

Noninvasive samples

For the development of each criminal identification file,  genetic samples are taken using noninvasive methods, like mouth samples, or from the rubbing of the cuff of a shirt, the armpits, neck, etc. With all that information the system produces  a unique code for each person.

De los Santos said that “the databank does an examination of the obtained sample and there the databank gives a unique alphanumeric code that will go directly to the databank software.”  “Therefore, the databank does not compare samples and fluids/substances but will find the suspect through the alphanumeric code that having numbers and letters in a sequence of 26 will correspond to the individuality of each human being, ” concluded Police Chief Inspector De Los Santos.

(*) CODIS.- CODIS stands for Combined DNA Index System. It is the core of the national DNA database in the U.S., established and funded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and developed specifically to enable public forensic DNA laboratories to create searchable DNA databases of authorized DNA profiles. CODIS is a restricted database and access to, and training on its use, is handled by the FBI. The CODIS software permits laboratories throughout the U.S. to share and compare DNA data. In addition, it provides a central database of the DNA profiles from all user laboratories. A weekly search is conducted of the DNA profiles in this U.S. database, known as the National DNA Index System (NDIS), and resulting matches are automatically returned by the software to the laboratory that originally submitted the DNA profile.

The term “CODIS” is often misused by law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and even practitioners of the forensic sciences when they intend to refer to a “DNA database.”