Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,000,000)
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors offices to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) - i.e. those SAKs that have never been submitted to a crime laboratory.
The goal of the SAKI is the creation of a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to these cases whenever possible through a victim-centered approach, as well as to build jurisdictions capacity to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. The holistic program provides jurisdictions with resources to address their unsubmitted SAK issue, including support to inventory, test, and track SAKs; create and report performance metrics; access necessary training to increase effectiveness in addressing the complex issues associated with these cases and engage in multidisciplinary policy development, implementation, and coordination; and improve practices related to investigation, prosecution, and victim engagement and support in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process.
The FY 2016 National SAKI Program will provide funds to recipients to implement or enhance the comprehensive BJA model to address the issues that underline the problem of unsubmitted SAKs or to expand their existing SAKI project to include the collection of lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office (CCPO) is awarded an FY 2016 SAKI award under Purpose Area 2 to build upon existing structures and successes of the SAKI Task Force for the purposes of identifying offenders who should have their DNA in the FBIs DNA database (the Combined DNA Index System, CODIS) but do not and obtaining, submitting, and tracking DNA swabs from these offenders. CCPO received an FY 2015 SAKI award, where they have conducted the required inventory of unsubmitted SAKs and are implementing the BJA model in order to reduce the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs. The recipient will use the FY 2016 Category 2 SAKI award to conduct a complete census of offenders who lawfully owe DNA; collect, submit, and track DNA samples of these offenders; conduct an assessment of the efficacy of changes to practices that were supposed to be implemented as a result of previous omissions of DNA swabs from offenders who lawfully owe DNA; and produce reports that include lessons learned from conducting the comprehensive census and recommendations to prevent future DNA omissions. Funds will be used for personnel costs for 3 investigators who will collect and track DNA swabs, and the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney (APA) who will serve as Site Coordinator and legal expert for the Owed DNA Initiative; contractual costs for a firm to conduct the data analysis and research and evaluation; and investigative travel costs.