Apparently crime is so bad in Britain that they are now thinking of putting the DNA of kids who are really bad on record. This is the plan according to a story by Mark Townsend and Anushka Asthana in England's The Observer.
The idea is that primary children would be eligible to have their DNA put in the database if they exhibit negative behavior. This is because bad kids sometimes tend to become criminals later in life. Of course not all of them do which is part of the problem of this practice. Many public officials including some at Scotland Yard say a debate is needed to decide how far people should take this program. Some experts believe it is possible to identify future offenders when they are as young as five years old.
Is it wrong to identify those who might become offenders later in society. It may not be wrong if this was a study doen blindly. Otherwise it might just be another form of racial profiling. Also another issue would be who would have access to this information. Could your kid apply for a credit card and then be denied for it because of his or her's potentially criminal DNA? Could a doctor make a lot of trouble for your child and put him or her on anti-psychotic drugs or mood altering drugs because he knows about bad DNA? It's a bit too 'Big Brother is Watching You for Most People.'
One of the organizations supporting this is called Public Policy Research. They have put together a report that suggests that the DNA testing should target certain groups of children such as those who have behavioral disorders like ADD or borderline personality disorders. The age group that would be targeted would be those girls and boys between the ages of ten and thirteen years old as that is the age when most adolescents tends to think of offending for the first time.
Currently the idea is prohibited by logistics and the cost of testing everyone in Britain. To be fair everyone would have to give a DNA sample. Currently there are more than 45 million DNA samples from people who have been arrested on file in Britain. The idea is that if that base of DNA samples is expanded then it will be easier to catch criminals.
There is a lot of outrage about this idea. For instance how would you like the DNA of your troubled kid on file because he or she has ADD and is more likely to offend? Then of course there are the racial implications of all of this. Are the kids of black populations who have higher rates of fetal alcohol syndrome babies, crack babies and autistic children just being penalized with these potential DNA tests. Most people would say that it violates democratic rights and that we are already behaving like characters out of a science fiction film.