MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - DNA samples were taken from 118 West Michigan inmates under a warrant authorized by the Muskegon County prosecutor, signed by a local magistrate, and carried out by state police and Corrections staff.
The prisoners at the Earnest C. Brooks and West Shoreline correctional facilities previously had refused to give samples of their DNA, which could be used to bring closure to unsolved crimes, Prosecutor Tony Tague told The Muskegon Chronicle for a story Thursday.
Some cheek swabs were taken Wednesday by force from inmates who refused to submit to the search warrant.
DNA samples from convicted felons are placed in a national database.
As many as 6,000 prisoners across the state have not been processed for DNA and those samples can be used to bring closure to
unsolved crimes, Tague said.
Under state Corrections policy, DNA samples are taken just before release from convicted felons who refuse to give them.
Tague told the newspaper that he will push state lawmakers for legislation forcing inmates to surrender samples earlier in their incarceration.
Corrections officials do not have the authority to take DNA samples by force unless a court order is approved, department spokesman John Cordell said.
The department had worked with state police on legislation changing that, but it never was introduced, Cordell said.
"We plan to reintroduce that law this year," he said.
Records of about 1,200 inmates in the Muskegon area were checked and about 120 had not given DNA samples, according to state police Detective Lt. Curtis Schram, who spearheaded the effort.
"We asked inmates to provide a sample and a number of them refused to do it," he said. "They were physically restrained by the (corrections) officials."
When results of the samples are returned in about two months, authorities will "know why they refused" to give them voluntarily, Schram said.
The Associated Press left telephone messages and e-mails seeking comment Thursday evening with the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.
Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle
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