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FY 2017 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 2017, $681,210)

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 central lab for evidence requiring examinations only available at the Pearl location. 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 to an accredited laboratory using Federal funding for DNA convicted offender and arrestee database sample testing. Until the MSFL became fully operational in a new laboratory facility in mid 2015, in-house database sample testing was not possible because of space limitations and lack of equipment. However, the MSFL DNA unit now has the needed space to expand services to include database sample testing. New automated equipment and three technical staff will be added later this year to provide the resources necessary for in-house processing in the near future.

Recently, the MSFL has received an average of 700 database samples per month to process, review and enter into CODIS. This monthly average of submitted samples represents a 30% increase from the same time last year. This unexpected increase of database samples and a new objective for the Bioscience unit to increase the turnaround time of sexual assault kits requires more workflow efficiency to be successful in achieving our goal. The goal of the MSFL FY 2017 proposal is to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis by (1) continuing the employment of additional staff and (2) validating a Y-screen assay procedure to address a bottleneck in the sexual assault kit workflow. The objective is to increase the efficiency of processing sexual assault kits thereby reducing the turnaround time and backlog of unworked cases.


Date Created: September 29, 2017