Genetics, Crime and Justice

Genetics, Crime and Justice

Debra Wilson

As our understanding of genetics increases, its use in criminal justice becomes more attractive. This timely book examines the use of genetic information both in criminal investigations and during the trial process. It discusses current scientific understanding and considers some potential legal, ethical and sociological issues with the use of genetic information. Topics include rights of privacy and consent in obtaining DNA samples, evidentiary issues in court, the impact of genetic evidence on punishment theory and sentencing, and genetic discrimination.

Chapter 8: Concluding thoughts

Debra Wilson

Subjects: law - academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical law, criminal law and justice, law and society, regulation and governance

Extract

The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country. A calm, dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused against the state, and even those of the convicted criminal against the state, a constant heart-searching by all charged with the duty of punishment, a desire and eagerness to rehabilitate into the world of industry all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment, tireless effort towards the discovery of curative and regenerating processes, and an unfaltering faith that there is a treasure, if you can only find it, in the heart of every man, these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation and are the signs and proof of the living virtue in it. In 1910 Winston Churchill spoke these words to the House of Commons, as Home Secretary What would he think of the issues raised and discussed in this book? Have we lived up to his idea of civilization? Perhaps the answer would be ‘no’. The move to a universal DNA database, whether by design, function creep, or stealth, has slowly eroded the rights of not only the convicted criminal but even of those merely arrested or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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