State gets $1.1 million to process backlogged rape kits

The state of Alaska has been awarded $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to process a backlog of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers

October 4, 2016

The state of Alaska has been awarded $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to process a backlog of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers.

Amanda Price, a senior adviser to the governor, has been working on the issue for more than a year. By phone, she said the backlog being addressed isn't at the state crime lab. Rather, these are kits that were collected but never submitted to the crime lab in the first place.

"What we're looking at are unsubmitted kits," she said.

Rape kits contain DNA evidence collected from sexual assault victims by police, but not all kits are analyzed for such evidence or compared against national databases.

Lt. David Campbell of the Juneau Police Department said there are a variety of reasons why. A rape kit reveals if sex has taken place, but in a date-rape case, the issue is about consent, not whether sex took place. Analyzing a rape kit may not reveal information that helps prosecutors.

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