The Backlog:

Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimates that there are approximately 20,000 untested rape kits at law enforcement agencies statewide. The State recently enacted legislation that could provide a more precise number.  

Senate Bill 1426 requires law enforcement agencies to conduct an inventory of the untested rape kits in their custody and report the number to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) by July 1, 2014. TBI would then report the total number of untested kits to the legislature by September 1, 2014. 

State Representative Antonio Parkinson introduced additional legislation on January 6, 2014, that would go a step further and require all Tennessee law enforcement agencies to count the previously untested rape kits in their custody and then submit those kits to the crime lab for testing within six months of the law's effective date. As to newly collected rape kits, law enforcement agencies would be required to send them to the crime lab for testing within 10 business days of receipt. The crime lab would then have six months to process that evidence. It is unlikely that this proposed legislation will pass as this year's state budget failed to include any funding for rape kit testing. 

As we have seen in the three states—Colorado, Illinois and Texas—that have enacted similar legislation, such reforms allow us to move closer to ending the backlog. This can happen in Tennessee, too. Take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.

  • Backlog Status

Count
Partially Counted
Testing
Testing Status Unknown
Resolved
Unknown
Size
20,000*

*As estimated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in April 2014. 

  • Reform Status

Tracking Testing Victim Notification
No Known Reform
Reform in Progress
Partial Reform
Complete Reform
  • Additional Information

In addition to what we know about the backlog in Memphis, there is also information about the backlog from other jurisdictions in the state. 

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office reported in April 2014 that it had approximately 314 untested rape kits in its custody. The Office has requested $75,000 from the County in its fiscal year 2015 budget to process those kits. 

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reported in June 2014 that the Jackson Police Department had 426 rape kits in storage, some dating back to 1998. Of those 426 kits, the Department had tested just 177. 

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