This seventh episode of the DNA season in the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series consists of an interview with Molly Hall, an examiner for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory (USACIL), who discusses her laboratory's transition to a Direct-to-DNA approach in processing sexual assault kits.
Background information for the interview notes that the USACIL acts as the true crime lab for the entire Department of Defense and serves all branches of the military. With approximately 2,000 sexual assault kits being submitted each year, the USACIL needed to develop a procedure for efficiently processing these kits without the delay of screening or an influx of submissions. In the interview, Molly Hall discusses sexual assault kit processing and why the USACIL switched to a Direct-to-DNA approach. Hall reports that the USACIL processes approximately 2,000 sexual assault kits per year. Before reorganizing to increase processing efficiency, the processing of a sexual assault kit took about 4 months. After the reorganization, turn-around time decreased to approximately 2 months. Efficiency was improved by having a lab team examine each sexual assault kit to prioritize various types of evidence believed to be most likely to produce DNA. Prioritized evidence is then sent for DNA analysis, which relies largely on automated testing for DNA.