For decades, hundreds of thousands of rape kits have gone untested, meaning that hundreds of thousands of crimes have gone unsolved, victims have been denied justice, and perpetrators have gone undetected. Sexual assault survivors—and the general public—deserve better. By funding a solution: using automation robots and modular low-rent private lab expansion into incubator spaces we can eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits by skipping bureaucratic red tape, reducing cost, and increasing speed. Let's DO something about this problem. Here is the story of Joanie that inspired our involvement in this movement.
By analyzing the samples collected in a rape kit, forensic scientists can develop a DNA profile that is unique to the perpetrator. That DNA profile can then be compared to a database with thousands of other DNA profiles from known offenders and from unsolved crime scenes. This process can both identify an unknown perpetrator and link a suspect to other crimes.
To accomplish these things, however, rape kits must be tested. Because research suggests that rapists often commit more than one violent sexual assault and multiple violent crimes; it is important to also test DNA samples of prisoners who are already incarcerated for violent crimes. In addition to those kits, there also is a huge backlog of prisoner DNA sample kits as well. We need to process both of these to provide the most matches!
We assembled a team of committed scientists and technicians who will deliver results on time within a fraction of the cost of government labs and we exceed the minimum FBI Laboratory’s guidelines, by using the latest technology to produce more accurate results. For a good example of a private Forensics lab visit Sorenson Forensics.
In the United States, it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of untested kits in police and crime lab storage facilities. Each kit represents a survivor who courageously submitted to the four to six-hour rape kit collection process and reported the rape to the police. Many of these survivors never receive any follow-up information after filing the police report.
Private Forensics Labs will utilize state of the art automation to help reduce backlogs of rape kits in the US. As we grow, we will then tackle many other areas of DNA testing that is backlogged.
Our process can also be used to help end the backlog of CODIS, (Combined DNA Index System) the generic term used to describe the FBI's program of support for criminal justice DNA databases. According to this PBS article, (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/dna-data... ), “The only thing that’s limiting the expansion of DNA databases is the fact that samples often come in faster than labs can analyze them. That’s produced enormous backlogs. To address the problem, the federal government has given $151 million annually to state and local governments since 2005 to process DNA samples. That assistance has been extended through 2014. But even that funding hasn’t let labs catch up.”
We can also process the backlog of violent prisoner DNA sample kits and offer objective DNA retesting as part of the Innocence Project. We hope to ultimately offer our services at cost to process global samples. Globally there are an excess of 87,000 rape cases per year. As we go further, we will offer our DNA forensics testing service to the Innocence Project (https://www.innocenceproject.org/).
You will receive a 501c(3) tax donation in the mail.
Some of the kits are not high quality DNA samples. Over time the kits may have degraded below detection, or there could have been issues with collecting the samples themselves. There will be times when our processing is not going to work, due to this poor quality. There could be times when the DNA we successfully process is not found in the DNA database. Innovations from Private companies will allow us to perform simultaneous automated pre-screening of 96 samples at a time to determine if the sample contains Male DNA in significant enough quantities to perform analysis. Another challenge is DNA samples containing more than one contributor.
These challenges are not an excuse from processing backlog kits at all. With our scientists and CSI experts, the processing of viable kits can happen at a much faster rate by identifying select high quality samples to perform full analysis on. These high quality samples are much more likely to achieve successful database matching and convection rate in court.
Sign up for news and tips to helping us do something about the backlog!