Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $920,951)
The State of Washington has signed into law three bills that have moved the state criminal justice system toward a victim-centered approach for the examination, inventory, tracking, and reporting of sexual assault kit (SAK) cases; an approach in line with many of the 35 recommendations published in the NIJs National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach.
While progressing toward a victim-centered approach is a positive change for the Washington Criminal Justice System, the archival and storage methods employed by Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division (WSPCLD) no longer match the demand for services. The WSPCLD estimates there are over 480,000 case records archived in off-site storage facilities. These case records only exist as hard copy files. Recent legislation will cause another increase in the number of archived SAKs, making it even more difficult to retrieve case records for CODIS hits and to identify partially tested SAKs.
This project proposes to purchase the hardware, software, and professional services necessary to digitize and store the physical archive of case records, and create a new Information Technology Specialist (ITS4) position. The ITS4 will complete a comprehensive inventory of SAKs in the possession of WSPCLD (Task 1) achieved by digitizing the existing physical archive of DNA cases, upload this information into an existing tracking software program to monitor SAKs (Task 2), and use existing software programs to assist state-funded staff to report the status of SAKs identified during Task 1.