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Rape Kit Backlogs
Created On
Monday, May 4, 2009
Last Modified On
Monday, May 4, 2009
Last Modified By
For the past decade, or longer, many state crime labs have had a huge backlog of untested DNA samples from rapes and other serious offenses. Delays in DNA testing for these types of offenses not only hinders investigations and prosecutions, but may also allow offenders to go on to victimize more people. The majority of DNA samples are sent to state labs because of funding issues. If and when funding is available to send DNA samples to private labs, offenders can then be identified quickly, in as little as a week, often times. Today, the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, the third-largest forensic laboratory in the world, has hundreds of untested DNA samples, nearly half from rape kits, which are talking longer than a month to process. Some sexual assault victims and law enforcement officials say that it can take as long as a year for DNA samples to be processed. In Los Angeles County, major backlogs of untested rape kits were recently exposed, with some being older than a decade. New York City faced a serious DNA backlog about 10 years ago, but now confirms a six week turnaround for rape kits. In some cases, it appears that state funding for forensics is not allocated properly. Also, DNA backlogs seem to go underreported for long periods of time, which keeps the state from recognizing the enormity of the problem.
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