In April 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation that addresses the state's backlog of untested sexual assault kits. The newly enacted law directs the State Crime Laboratory to conduct an annual sexual assault evidence inventory audit of all law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers. On February 1st of each year, the State Crime Laboratory will deliver a report of the findings to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.
In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the Arkansas State Crime Lab was awarded $97,121 in funding to and test 1,513 rape kits.
While this law and funding will allow us to have a more accurate picture of the backlog in Arkansas, the legislature must take additional steps to provide survivors with greater access to justice, including requiring the testing of all rape kits booked into evidence. Take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.
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In November 2014, Arkansas State Crime Lab Executive Director Kermit Channell stated that the state has only a "current backlog," meaning only 20 kits have yet to be assigned to an analyst. The lab is aiming to lower its turnaround time to around 30 days to analyze a rape kit. Channell also added, "In 2005, we were woefully under budget, we had a tremendous backlog...some 20,000 cases...but that's not true today and that's because we have additional funding sources."
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District Attorney Vance Awards $38 Million In Grants To Help 32 Jurisdictions in 20 States Test Backlogged Rape KitsSeptember 10, 2015
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