Editorial: Alabama needs to join 43 states in granting access to DNA testing


An editorial in yesterday’s Birmingham News calls on Alabama lawmakers to create a system allowing prisoners to apply for DNA testing that can definitively prove innocence or guilt. Earlier this month, Wyoming became the 43rd state to pass a DNA access law, and South Carolina lawmakers advanced similar legislation. The Birmingham editorial calls the bill “honorable” and says it would ensure that Alabama tax dollars are not going to keep an innocent person behind bars.

For several years running, state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, has introduced a bill that would establish a legal procedure for inmates to get DNA tests. This year is no exception. But as in past years, the measure doesn't appear to be a big priority for our lawmakers. That's a shame.

Providing inmates a forum to prove their innocence isn't a way to coddle criminals. It's a way to ensure the right people are locked up for the right crimes. If one person is wrongly convicted of a crime, it stands to reason that another person has wrongly escaped punishment for it.

Read the full editorial here

. (Birmingham News, 03/25/08)

The seven states without laws granting access to DNA testing are: South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Dakota. But not all laws are equal – does your state go far enough to provide DNA testing access to prisoners?

Check our interactive map to learn more


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