|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||NIJ||TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2000||202/307-0703|
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.
For more information contact: Doug Johnson at 202/307-0703
|SAMPLES TO BE ANALYZED|
|California Department of Justice||Jan Bashinski - 916/227-9564|
|Florida Department of Law Enforcement||William Coffman - 850/410-7645|
|Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension||Terry Laber - 651/642-0700|
|New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services||John Hicks - 518/457-1901|
|Pennsylvania State Police||Harry Fox, III - 717/772-0860|
|Texas Department of Public Safety||J. Ronald Urbanovsky - 512/424-2143|
|Washington State Patrol||Lynn McIntyre - 206/464-7073|