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FY 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $685,215)

The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory System, an ASCLD/LAB, ISO 17025 accredited system, consists of a central full-service laboratory in Pearl and three regional labs located in Batesville, Meridian, and the Gulf Coast. The mission of the laboratory is to provide a full range of forensic services to law enforcement agencies in the state by performing testing activities that meet the stringent requirements of the International Standard ISO 17025 and satisfy the needs of the customer.

The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL) faces the challenge of providing essential forensic services to the criminal justice system of the state in a time of reduced budgets and increasing crime. At the present time, all DNA analyses are performed in the Pearl Laboratory. The regional laboratories receive evidence from agencies in their region and provide courier service to the main lab for evidence requiring examinations not available at the branch laboratory. Conventional serological examinations have been added to the services provided by the three regional laboratories, the Meridian, Batesville and Gulf Coast laboratories. Currently DNA database samples are outsourced using Federal funding for DNA convicted offender database sample testing, DNA arrestee database sample testing and to purchase collection kits for MDOC.

Most recently, because of space limitations and lack of equipment, in-house DNA database sample testing has not been possible in the MSFL system. However, the central laboratory has moved into a new facility with adequate space to provide the DNA unit the ability to expand services to include database sample testing. New equipment is now being validated and in-house processing of database samples is expected to begin by the end of 2016. Until completion of validation studies and staff completes required training, database samples will continue to be outsourced. Currently, MSFL receives approximately 350 convicted offender samples per month to process, review, and enter into CODIS. Since the addition of arrestee samples in October 2015, the number of database samples increased by approximately 150 per month.

In order to meet the goal of the 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program, the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory System requires an increase in the number of personnel in the Database Unit and the Serology Unit. We are requesting funds to fill one Forensic Laboratory Technician position for CODIS case management, one DPS Forensic Biologist Trainee position for CODIS, one DPS Forensic Biologist Trainee position for Serology, one Information Technology position and to fund continuing education in the DNA Bioscience Unit. The additional equipment needed to facilitate the improvement includes high throughput DNA extractors, liquid handlers and autoclaves.

Date Created: September 7, 2016