Increasing the Capacity of Crime Laboratories

Several federal grant programs have made a significant contribution to clearing backlogs of forensic DNA evidence in crime laboratories. At the same time, most jurisdictions remain hard-pressed to keep up with the demand.

Learn more about increasing demand for DNA analysis.
Between 2004 and 2011, NIJ awarded approximately $542 million to state and local DNA laboratories. Over 220,000 backlogged forensic DNA cases and 2.1 million convicted offender/arrestee DNA database samples were funded through the various NIJ DNA grant programs offered. In addition, funds were used to increase the capacity of state and local DNA laboratories to work more cases and database samples by buying better laboratory equipment, improving automation, and hiring staff.

Federal funding has helped state and local DNA laboratories increase capacity almost fourfold between 2005 and 2010. These capacity improvements in the nation's  DNA laboratories have allowed DNA laboratories to keep pace with the demand for new DNA services, which has also increased almost fourfold.

Until the capacity to work more DNA cases and DNA database samples equals the increasing demand for more DNA cases to be tested and increasing state legislative requirements expanding the collection of DNA database samples from convicted offenders and/or arrestees  — or until supply equals demand — the backlogs will continue to grow.

Date Modified: January 31, 2012