AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has helped the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) secure a $3.3 million grant to reduce the state's DNA rape kit backlog.
The funding for this grant comes from the Department of Justice as part of the Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program, which is authorized by the Debbie Smith Act.
In 2004, the Debbie Smith Act was signed into law as a way to help provide local and state crime laboratories end the backlogs of untested DNA evidence from unsolved crimes, analyze DNA samples and increase the ability to process DNA to stop future backlogs.
“As long as rape kits sit untested, authorities are failing the victims and communities we’ve sworn to protect,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I am proud to have authored three laws to help drive down our national backlog, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to ensure survivors receive the closure they deserve and that justice is served.”
This additional $3.3 million comes not even a year after Cornyn granted the DPS $2.8 million to reduce the backlog in December 2021.
Over the past 10 years, several state laws have been passed, including S.B. 1192, H.B. 1729, H.B. 3152 and H.B. 281, and millions of dollars has been spent to eliminate the backlog.
The full report has not been published yet, but the DPS has reported that for the second quarter of this year (which ends in May), 3,344 rape kits have not been tested since the original report last year. Since June 30, 2022, 223 kits have been screened, with only 162 being completed.
Statewide, since September 2019, a total of 26,710 kits have been submitted.
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