Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,476,944)
PROJECT ABSTRACT FY2021 DNA CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT AND BACKLOG REDUCTION PROGRAM ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC SCIENCES (ADFS) The state of Alabama - and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) specifically - continues to face serious budgetary constraints, even as the request for forensic services has historically increased from year to year. In addition to the budgetary challenges, ADFS has been collaborating with two separate Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) award recipients within the state of Alabama, with the most recent collaboration beginning in 2018. These collaborations have resulted in a steady increase in sexual assault case submissions to our laboratories that began in 2016 and has continued into 2021, with more than a two-fold increase over this time-period (789 sexual assault submissions in 2015 compared to 1,670 submissions in 2020). This collaboration with SAKI award recipients, and concomitant increase in sexual assault case submissions, are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The federal funding from this award will greatly offset these serious shortfalls, and will be used to realize the following goals and objectives: Increase the capacity of the ADFS forensic DNA casework laboratories, thereby reducing the forensic DNA casework backlog, through analyst overtime and the purchase of Biology supplies to assist the ADFS to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA samples. Prevent a DNA database sample backlog accruing due to reduced state funding through the purchase of database supplies and analyst overtime to assist the ADFS to process, record, and analyze DNA database samples. Enhance the long-term capacity of the ADFS casework and database laboratories to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA and DNA database samples through the purchase of maintenance agreements for the DNA analysis instrumentation and the STRmix DNA mixture interpretation software and through the purchase of CODIS server hardware/related software. The ADFS expects to test at least 650 cases by the end of the award period, resulting in a significant reduction in the statewide backlog of cases awaiting testing. The ADFS DNA databank laboratory also expects to process at least 10,000 DNA database samples using federal funding. The statewide turn-around time on Biology casework is expected to be reduced by an additional 10 days.