This document discusses new funding for the use of DNA to solve crimes, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons.
DNA technology has become increasingly vital to identifying criminals, clearing suspects, and identifying missing persons. The current Federal and State DNA collection and analysis needs improvement because crime labs are overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with the influx of DNA samples and evidence. The problems of backlogs and the lack of up-to-date technology result in significant delays in the administration of justice. More research is needed to develop faster methods for analyzing DNA evidence. Criminal justice professionals need additional training and assistance in order to ensure the optimal use of DNA evidence to solve crimes and assist victims. The criminal justice system needs the means to provide DNA testing in appropriate circumstances where individuals assert they have been wrongly convicted. The President has proposed Federal funding in fiscal year 2004 for the improvement of the use of DNA in Federal, State, and local forensic laboratories. Specifically, the initiative will work to eliminate backlogs, strengthen crime laboratory capacity, stimulate research and development, and provide training. The initiative will advance the use of DNA technology to protect the innocent from wrongful prosecution by providing access to post-conviction DNA testing in appropriate circumstances for State and Federal inmates that may have been wrongly convicted. In order to help provide closure for families of missing persons, the initiative provides education and outreach to medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officers, and victims’ families on the use of DNA to identify missing persons.
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