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Convicted Offender DNA Backlog Reduction Program: U.S. Department of Justice Audit
Raymond J. Beaudet (ed)
Advances in DNA tech. provide law enforcement powerful new tools to identify suspects from biological evidence where older techniques could not. However, public and private crime laboratories are not fully equipped to handle the increased demand for DNA testing. The increased demand for DNA analyses, without a corresponding growth in forensic laboratory capacity, has caused a large backlog of unanalyzed DNA samples from convicted offenders and crime scenes, and this backlog can significantly delay criminal investigations. To aid in reducing this national convicted offender DNA sample backlog the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) -– through its Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP), National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded the first year of the Convicted Offender DNA Backlog Reduction Program (Backlog Reduction Program) in FY 2000. To further promote the use of DNA tech., the DOJ established a strategic objective to increase the availability and use of technological resources for combating crime. As part of this effort, in 2004 DOJ implemented a 5-year, $1 billion DNA initiative to improve the capacity to solve crimes using DNA evidence by eliminating casework and convicted offender backlogs, funding R&D, improving crime lab. capacity, and providing training for all stakeholders in the justice system. In support of this DNA initiative, funding is provided to help states reduce the backlog of convicted offender samples awaiting analysis and entry into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) maintained by the FBI. As a result, DOJ – -through its OJP, NIJ – has funded several programs to strengthen DNA capabilities in state and local labs. This audit examines the Backlog Reduction Program, which is designed to accelerate the analysis of convicted offender and arrestee DNA samples collected by states and to provide timely CODIS-compatible data for state and national DNA databases. The Backlog Reduction Program is intended to help states with existing labs. that conduct DNA analysis of samples from convicted offenders or arrestees to reduce their backlog of such samples by either in-house analysis or by sending samples to vendor laboratories for analysis. Figures.
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