Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $483,666)
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS) acknowledges the urgency to inventory and track all forensic, biological evidence and sexual assault kits (SAKs) in its possession to ensure prompt analyses and tracking to support prosecution where the perpetrator is known, and the evidence warrants.
DOCCS employs approximately 19,000 correctional officers of various ranks, 900 community supervision officers, and 185 Office of Special Investigations (OSI) investigators. In New York State, all of these personnel have peace officer status.
One of the functions of DOCCS OSI is to investigate all allegations of sexual abuse and assault, whether allegedly perpetrated by inmates or staff. Within OSI is a 24-person Sex Crimes Division Unit (SCD) responsible for these investigations. As of this writing, SCD is investigating and tracking 1,934 sex crime related allegations, but not all cases have or will result in a SAK.
With correctional facilities located throughout New York State, OSI investigators in general, and the dedicated SCD investigators in particular, need to gather forensic biological and physical evidence from multiple locations and maintain strict chain-of-custody possession of such materials. Currently, the tracking of sex crime evidence including the biological SAKs is managed through manual entry into physical log books. This obviously is a cumbersome process and results in the lack of a centralized, automated account of evidence content and location; to say nothing of tracking cases through the departmental and greater criminal justice process. As such, DOCCS desires and needs to obtain an automated evidence/investigative management system.
DOCCS commits to the implementation and completion of three tasks: the inventory of all existing SAKs in the Departments custody and the filing of the required certification, the tracking of SAKs through disposition for a minimum of twelve months, and finally, the reporting and posting of required metrics to NIJ and on the Departments website. To achieve all three tasks in the 36-month award period, DOCCS will purchase, through a competitive bid process, an automated and technologically sophisticated evidence and investigative management tracking system. Concurrent with the acquisition of the tracking system, DOCCS will hire and train a full-time evidence control custodian. DOCCS will adhere to all NIJ and OJP reporting requirements, including all quarterly and semi-annual progress reports. Once the initial inventory is complete, DOCCS will track the progress of all SAKs in its possession and every 60-days post required metrics on its website. Since DOCCS already maintains a public website, it will develop a template and location for the report. The metric report will adhere to following format: the full operational name of DOCCS, the period in covered in the report, and the total number of SAKs in DOCCS possession.