Across the country, the rape kit backlog is making headlines. Journalists are uncovering backlogs, jurisdictions are implementing reforms to track and test rape kits and citizens are taking action. In the Media Center, you'll find the latest information about the backlog, including: commentary from the END THE BACKLOG staff and backlog reformers, first-person testimonials from those impacted by the backlog, an archive of news articles, op-eds, investigative reports, legislation and government publications we've identified, and more.
THE BACKLOG BLOGAugust 27, 2015
Cleveland, Detroit and Memphis are all cities that discovered backlogs of untested rape kits in their jurisdictions, tested those kits and entered the DNA profile into CODIS, the national DNA database. Testing these backlogged rape kits has resulted in the identification of nearly 1,000 potential serial rapists.
THE BACKLOG BLOGJune 26, 2015
It is estimated that only between 2 and 8% of rape accusations are false. Yet rape victims face one of the steepest barriers to being believed by the criminal justice system, and their cases are the least likely of any violent crime to move forward through prosecution. Several news articles over the past few days illustrate just how steep that barrier can be.
THE BACKLOG BLOGJanuary 13, 2015
On Tuesday, January 6th 2015, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Detroit Crime Commission, and Michigan Women’s Foundation announced a new public-private collaboration for justice: Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit).
THE BACKLOG BLOGNovember 26, 2014
An untested rape kit from 1988 was recently tested in Detroit, leading to the arrest and conviction of serial offender Michael Eugene Swygart. Twenty-five years after the rape took place, Swygart has been sentenced to 40-75 years in prison on charges of criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping.
THE BACKLOG BLOGNovember 6, 2014
We sometimes hear from jurisdictions that they don’t consider the untested rape kits in their storage facilities to be part of a backlog—that officials actively chose not to test those kits. These jurisdictions fail to see the value of testing every kit booked into evidence, particularly when the identity of the perpetrator is known.
THE BACKLOG BLOGJuly 9, 2014
Our new series, Cold Case Convictions, begins, highlighting the consequences in allowing rape kits to remain untested, as well as the value DNA evidence has for bringing justice to victims of sexual assault.
THE BACKLOG BLOGMarch 28, 2014
If not for New York City’s rape kit backlog project, Michael Mercer might have spent the rest of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.
THE BACKLOG BLOGJanuary 28, 2014
As NPR reported this week, "rape kits give evidence to victims' stories." Law enforcement must count, track and test the kits in their evidence rooms—they must believe and honor survivors' decisions to participate in the criminal justice process.