FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENIJ
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2000202/307-0703

GRANTS TO ELIMINATE DNA SAMPLE BACKLOGS ANNOUNCED
$15 Million Will Help States Reduce Backlogs and Clear More Cases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Seven states will receive grants totaling more than $7 million to analyze DNA samples obtained from convicted criminals, the Justice Department announced today. The grants, being made by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Department's primary research and evaluation agency, will enable DNA samples, after analysis, to be entered into state systems and the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) allowing the comparison of the specimens to those housed in other states through the national system.

The states receiving awards now are California, Florida, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. In the near future, NIJ intends to make 14 grants totaling more than $7 million to help additional states analyze backlogged DNA samples.

"We must do all we can to help our state and local partners employ 21st Century technology in their efforts to make communities safer," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Increasing law enforcement's ability to use DNA evidence in the fight against crime makes sense and, ultimately, gets violent offenders off our streets."

Last year, the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence provided recommendations to the Attorney General on the current and future uses of DNA technology in the criminal justice system. Among those recommendations was one to help states analyze existing DNA samples that had been collected from convicted offenders but not yet analyzed and added to existing state systems and CODIS. At the time of the recommendation it was estimated that there were more than 750,000 unanalyzed samples in existence. Today's grants made under the DNA Backlog Reduction Program will help these states receiving the funds now to analyze 145,783 backlogged samples.

In addition, states will contribute DNA analysis of previously unanalyzed unsolved crimes to see if the samples of these cases matches the DNA profile of newly tested offenders to help solve old crimes. These and future analyzed samples will be added to CODIS.

"DNA is a very useful tool for investigators working on very difficult to solve cases," said NIJ Acting Director Julie Samuels. "In many cases, investigators are working hard to solve cases where a perpetrator has been apprehended for another crime and is already incarcerated. These grants will help link cases to convicted offenders and help investigators devote their energy to cases where the perpetrator is still at large and a threat to the community."

Additional information about NIJ can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij. Additional information about the Office of Justice Programs is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov. The attached chart includes the amounts the states are receiving, the number of backlogged samples they will analyze and a local contact and phone number.

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For more information contact: Doug Johnson at 202/307-0703

NIJ000187

FY 2000 NIJ DNA Backlog Reduction Program
STATE
GRANTEE
AMOUNT
SAMPLES TO BE ANALYZED
LOCAL CONTACT
CA
California Department of Justice
$1,500,000
30,000
Jan Bashinski - 916/227-9564
FL
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
$ 400,000
8,000
William Coffman - 850/410-7645
MN
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
$ 200,000
4,000
Terry Laber - 651/642-0700
NY
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
$1,447,400
28,948
John Hicks - 518/457-1901
PA
Pennsylvania State Police
$ 653,000
13,062
Harry Fox, III - 717/772-0860
TX
Texas Department of Public Safety
$1,745,550
34,911
J. Ronald Urbanovsky - 512/424-2143
WA
Washington State Patrol
$1,343,100
26,862
Lynn McIntyre - 206/464-7073
Totals
$7,289,150
145,783