More money could be on the way from Congress to help fight the nation’s backlog of untested rape kits.
The House of Representatives approved $4 million Tuesday for local enforcement agencies to test untested rape kits. The bill was authored by Memphis Congressmen Steve Cohen who said resources to test the kits have not always been available.
“Something is wrong with our criminal justice system when rapists are allowed to roam free, and attack other victims, simply because the evidence needed to find and convict them sits on a shelf somewhere,” Cohen said in a statement.
Grants from the new funds will be delivered through the Department of Justice’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a competitive program for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, prosecutor’s offices, and some other government agencies.
As of last month, 5,846 rape kits remain untested in Memphis. More than 12,000 untested kits were discovered in 2013 and 2014. More than 5,800 have received some kind of testing and that testing has resulted in 72 indictments.