In 2011, Texas became the second state to pass legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to count and test the untested rape kits in their storage facilities. As of early 2013, among the reporting agencies, there were 15,900 untested kits. Based on that number, state officials estimated there to be roughly 20,000 untested kits statewide, and that it would cost between $7 million and $11 million to clear the backlog. To move forward with that goal, the state legislature included $10.8 million for processing untested rape kits in its budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the City of Austin Police Department was awarded $1,994,648 in funding to test 3,070 rape kits, the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory was awarded $789,223 in funding to test 1,300 rape kits and the Travis County Sheriff's Office was awarded $97,305 in funding to test 148 rape kits. Dallas County also received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance initiative.
For more information about reforms happening in Texas, click here.
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.
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In 2013, more than 3,000 untested rape kits were reported in Austin, and the Fort Worth police reported having 1,018 untested rape kits. In 2003, Fort Worth had received a grant that allowed it to test 960 kits dating back to 1994, resulting in 214 matches in the DNA database, 47 arrests and 36 felony convictions. As of August 2014, the backlog in Austin was reported to be around 700 untested kits.
Additionally, in January 2015, it was reported that Amarillo has over 800 untested rape kits in their police evidence facilities. As of July 2015, the Amarillo Police Department has sent 550 kits to the Texas Department of Public Safety for testing, some dating back to 1991.
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