Five states tracking rape kits with new system
Nevada, like most other states, had a mound of untested rape kits that piled up over the years, for a variety of reasons. More than 7,600 kits of evidence have been inventoried by state authorities, as per the attorney general’s Sexual Assault Initiative.
Nevada appropriated $3.7 million in new funding to test backlogged kits in 2015, and received federal grant funding the following year. The state has since sent more than 7,300 of the kits for testing, with nearly 6,000 being completed. That has yielded 636 DNA matches—and 17 arrests on the “new” evidence obtained right off law enforcement shelves. Much of it seems like a success.
But what about the future? The state passed a law last year mandating that law enforcement submit all kits within 30 days to crime labs, who then must turn around and test every piece of evidence within 120 days.
The legislation also requires a statewide tracking system allowing victims to watch the process from afar, providing real-time accountability.
Nevada has now struck a deal to make it happen with STACS DNA and its Track-Kit solution, a cloud-based software system allowing all stakeholders to access the same system from different portals. It makes the Silver State the fifth and latest to adopt the tracking system—with other states in talks to potentially adopt the “turnkey” solution that brings states into compliance with demanding “rape kit” laws.