Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
The Texas Ranger Division (TRD) of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) seeks funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), under Purpose Area 3, to collect DNA samples from convicted offenders who are being supervised for their qualifying offense. The SAKI multidisciplinary team under the TXDPS's 2019 grant identified ~43,000 offenders who were likely eligible for DNA sample collection based on a qualifying offense arrest or conviction in their computerized criminal history (CCH). Each CCH was manually reviewed by multidisciplinary team members to determine eligibility status. To date, all ~43,000 have been reviewed and after removing duplicates and offenders marked non-eligible after manual review, it is estimated there are ~28,000 offenders who likely owe a DNA sample, and ~20,000 of these offenders currently reside in Texas. These ~20,000 offenders consist of both arrestees and convicted offenders. Through collaboration with the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the Texas Ranger DNA Collection Coordinator (DNACC) and CJAD identified 15,499 offenders who have records on file with TDCJ CJAD. At this time, 7,367 are actively being supervised by TDCJ or a local Community Service and Corrections Departments (CSCDs). The remaining 8,132 offenders have a record on file with TDCJ or a local CSCD but are not longer under supervision. Of the 7,367 supervised offenders identified in the DNA census, 3,661 of these offenders are on supervision for their qualifying offense. The TRD has also realized a need for training and awareness on lawfully owed DNA collection throughout the state of Texas. An audit of arrestee DNA collections from September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2021, revealed there were 169,667 arrestees who qualified for DNA collection, and 103,110 DNA samples were collected and entered into Texas SDIS in this time period. There were 66,557 missed arrestee collections during this period. This grant project will provide training to LEAs around the state on qualifying arrest and conviction criteria and will focus on lawfully owed DNA collection for the 3,661 convicted offenders who are on probation for their qualifying offense.