Justice Department Awards $64.8 Million to Reduce DNA Backlog

Oct 08, 2010, 15:19 ET from Office of Justice Programs

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Justice today announced that more than $64.8 million in Fiscal Year 2010 funding was awarded to 115 state and local governments to increase crime lab capacity and to reduce sample turnaround time at laboratories across the country.

"This funding is critical to our efforts to reduce the DNA backlog," said Laurie O. Robinson, OJP's Assistant Attorney General.  "As research has shown the value of DNA analysis in solving crimes, the workload of crime labs has skyrocketed.  From 2005 to 2008, demand for DNA testing services increased by more than 260 percent.  We have to work together to ensure that labs have the tools they need to respond to this increased demand for the analysis that is vital to prosecutors and, ultimately, to crime victims."

Since 2004, OJP's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has provided $330 million in funding to laboratories to reduce their backlogs of DNA samples by improving technology and processes and by hiring new staff.   NIJ defines a "backlogged" DNA case as one that has not been tested 30 days after the sample was submitted to the crime lab.  NIJ will administer these 115 grants through the Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program.

"The data collected from our monitoring of the DNA Backlog Reduction Funding program, started in 2004, show these awards are making a big difference.  Laboratories have improved both the quantity of DNA samples they analyze and the time it takes to do so.  As the demand continues to speed up, we will be working with laboratories to find even more ways to improve the system to achieve fairness and justice for all," explained John H. Laub, Ph.D., NIJ Director.

Details about these Fiscal Year 2010 grants are at: www.dna.gov/funding. More information about the DNA backlog is available in NIJ's 2010 report, Making Sense of the DNA Backlog, http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/230183.pdf.

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims.  OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking.  More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.


SOURCE Office of Justice Programs