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False Metric of the DNA Backlog - Interview at the 2010 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2010
1 page
This transcript and video from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 2010 Conference cover a brief statement on the use of crime laboratory "efficiency" as a false measure of the underlying cause of persistent backlogs in the processing of DNA evidence.
The NIJ Convicted Offender DNA Backlog Reduction Program spent millions of dollars on reducing the convicted-offender DNA identification backlog in laboratories. Backlogs persisted, however, even after the implementation of this investment. This occurred, not because laboratory inefficiencies were not reduced, but rather because more States were enacting laws that mandated the DNA collection and analysis of more types of convicted offenders, i.e., nonviolent offenders as well as violent offenders. Thus, DNA backlogs tend to be less related to laboratory efficiency in processing these cases than to crime rates and legislative and policy decisions that increase the number of offenders from which DNA samples are required, i.e., backlogs increase when input increases even when output is based on peak laboratory efficiency. The presenter is Dean Gialamas, Director of the Scientific Services Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Date Published: June 1, 2010