An estimated 70,000 untested rape kits languish in labs nationwide, USA Today reports. And while large cities and seem to have tackled this testing problem, smaller communities typically do not have testing funding available.

Testing of rape kit tests cost between $1,000 and $1,500 per kit, and funding is not available at all law enforcement agencies that need tests performed. And testing procedures are not standardized nationwide. This combined with expense means testing is often left to investigators’ discretion.

Untested Criminal Evidence

Most of Detroit’s 11,000 rape kit backlog had been cleared and identified 2,616 suspects and 477 serial rapists, The Detroit Free Press reports. The process was able to link local crimes to incidents in other states through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System, a national registry of DNA gathered from violent crimes.

Making Rapid Testing a Priority

The lack timely rape kit testing directly affects police department’s ability to successfully prosecute sexual crimes. The availability of real-time testing could enhance the effectiveness of accurate prosecutions and potentially improve conviction rates.

Having the tools to more effectively prosecute rape would allow the innocent to go free and the guilty to be punished. Victims and their families would benefit by knowing that the right person is off the streets and incarcerated.

If you have questions regarding DNA backlogs or untested rape kits, contact a criminal defense lawyer to help guide you.