PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota implemented a new law requiring all convicted felons and juveniles adjudicated as a delinquent for a qualifying offense to provide a DNA sample to law enforcement officials.

Senate Bill 184 includes testing of persons already in prison or on parole and probation as of July 1, 2003. The state was previously required to take DNA samples from convicted sex offenders and those who commit violent crimes. The Department of Corrections has already taken the necessary steps to prepare for the increased testing.

"We have a department-wide policy in place," said Secretary of Corrections Tim Reisch. "Our staff will take the samples from all inmates in the system and those people on parole supervision and juvenile aftercare."

DNA samples are taken by swabbing the inside of the mouth. A thumbprint is also taken with the samples sent out for processing. A state DNA database is being established by the Attorney General's Office to store the records. Those results will be shared with a national database to see if a match exists with evidence in unsolved crimes in this state and elsewhere.

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