The Backlog:


According to a report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in September 2014, there are more than 9,000 untested rape kits at law enforcement agencies statewide, some dating back 30 years. Nearly 7,000 of the untested kits are in Memphis. The Bureau had previously estimated there to be a backlog of approximately 20,000 untested kits across the state. This report was the result of Senate Bill 1426, which required law enforcement agencies to conduct an inventory of the untested rape kits in their custody and report the number to TBI by July 1, 2014. 

Additionally, in April 2015 Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation that creates protocol for the collection of sexual assault kits, the submission of some kits to the police and then the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for forensic analysis.

In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was awarded $976,420 in funding to test 1,400 rape kits. The City of Memphis Division of Police Services also received funding through the initiative, as well as funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

As we have seen from other states that have enacted similar legislation, such reforms allow us to move closer to ending the backlog. Take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.

  • Backlog Status

Counting Complete
In Testing
Not Cleared

*As reported by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in September 2014. 

  • Reform Status

Tracking Testing Victim Notification
No Known Reform
Reform in Progress
Partial Reform
Complete Reform
  • Additional Information

Through The Accountability Project, we are using public records requests to bring the number of untested kits in the Tennessee Crime Lab to light.

In addition to what we know about the backlog in Memphis and Knoxville, there is also information about the backlog from other jurisdictions in the state. 

Nashville, which had previously acknowledged a backlog of 338 kits, reported getting that number down to 200. 

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reported in June 2014 that the Jackson Police Department had 426 rape kits in storage, some dating back to 1998. Of those 426 kits, the Department had tested just 177. 

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office reported in April 2014 that it had approximately 314 untested rape kits in its custody. The Office had requested $75,000 from the County in its fiscal year 2015 budget to process those kits. The Office reported 179 untested kits to TBI as of September 2014. 


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