Does New Jersey law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Tracking of Rape Kits?
Testing of all backlogged rape kits?
Testing of all rape kits in the future?
Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?
Funding for testing kits?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in New Jersey is unknown. New Jersey law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits.
In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Atlantic City and Camden to light. In 2015, we issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Trenton to light. As of March 2017, we have closed our inquiry into these three cities.
- Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD) did not fully respond to our request. ACPD stated that the total number of kits collected between 2004 and 2014, and the total number of these that remain in their custody, are “unknown.” ACPD took no additional measures to attempt to provide this information. As such, we were unable to ascertain the number and testing status of rape kits in the custody of ACPD.
- As of November 2014, Camden indicated that “no records exist” regarding the number of rape kits collected or stored by the police. As such, we were unable to ascertain the number and testing status of rape kits in the custody of the Camden Police Department.
- The Trenton Police Department (TPD) has not fully responded to our request. TPD stated that they did not have any documentation regarding rape kits collected or submitted for testing. In December 2016, Trenton denied our second FOIA request.
In 2016, New Jersey has two identical state bills related to rape kit reform pending. AB-894 and SB-839 would both require a statewide audit of untested rape kits and previously untested kits to be submitted for testing within 180 days. The bills also mandates that law enforcement agencies submit rape kits to a crime lab within 10 days of collection and that the crime lab complete analysis within six months.
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