The Backlog:

New Orleans

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance announced the New Orleans Police Department was awarded $1,058,214 in funding to address its backlog through testing kits, investingating and prosecuting cases and re-engaging survivors.

While conducting an investigation of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) in 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice learned the city had a backlog of 830 untested rape kits, some dating back to the '80s and '90s. In 2011, the National Institute of Justice awarded the city funding to clear the backlog, and NOPD outsourced the kits to Marshall University's Forensic Science Center for testing. All the kits were tested, along with 178 kits from the current year. From the 1,008 kits tested, NOPD uploaded 256 DNA profiles to the DNA database, resulting in 139 matches, 24 arrests and six convictions to date. 

429 untested rape kits were disclosed in a December 2014 New Orleans City Council hearing that examined shortcomings in New Orleans Police Department's handling of rapes and child abuse. Police Superintendent Michael Harrison stated that the department does not need to test 220 of those 429 kits, citing reasons such as closed investigations and a victim's request to not proceed with the investigation amongst others. The remaining 209 backlogged kits still need to be tested.

For more information on reforms happening in New Orleans, click here

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