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2007 DNA Evidence and Offender Analysis Measurement: DNA Backlogs, Capacity and Funding

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2010
31 pages
This report presents the results of a study that surveyed publicly funded crime laboratories performing DNA analysis to determine the nature and extent of DNA testing backlogs.
The study conducted a survey of publicly funded crime laboratories performing DNA analysis in 2007 to determine the nature and extent of DNA backlogs that exist at crime laboratories. Of the crime laboratories surveyed, 99 percent responded. The resulting data indicate that in 2007, the backlog of DNA cases awaiting analysis actually grew. Several laboratories provided additional information regarding the breakdown of DNA backlogs in violent cases, such as rape and murder, versus nonviolent cases, such as property crimes. The study also provided context for discussing DNA backlogs in terms of the actual number of request for analysis; number of requests completed, or capacity; and turnaround times. Requests for DNA analysis in property crime cases represented a small percentage of all requests. Backlogs also persist in offender DNA analysis programs, but the data collected indicate that significant strides have been made in decreasing those figures. Additional data points regarding the incoming workload of offender samples, as well as the number completed and turnaround times, provided a full picture of the work being undertaken within State laboratory offender DNA programs. Laboratories for both casework analysis and offender analysis reported heavy reliance on Federal funding for support of their DNA programs and indicated that growth in backlogs would be expected without the Federal assistance. Reliance on Federal funding was more significant for casework programs than it was for offender programs. The report includes nine tables.

Date Published: January 1, 2010