• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

SHSU, UT-Austin researchers study issue of untested rape kits

A bill approved by the Texas Senate and pending in the House aims to address the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in law enforcement evidence storage rooms. Now, researchers at Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at Austin are investigating why kits go untested, with the intent of establishing protocols for determining when kits need to be tested in the future.

“This is a problem-solving project that seeks to determine why so many kits are not being tested,” lead SHSU researcher William Wells said in a news release. “The goal is to create appropriate solutions that can be implemented and to determine if there are ways that forensic evidence in these kits can be used effectively.”

The research project is the first phase of a National Institute for Justice-funded study, focused on Houston law enforcement entities. The second phase of the NIJ study will focus on Wayne County (Detroit), Mich.

According to the news release from SHSU, about 4,000 untested rape kits are in the Houston Police Department’s Property Room. The NIJ study involves collaboration among SHSU, UT-Austin, HPD Crime Lab, HPD Juvenile Sex Crimes Unit, HPD Special Crimes Division, Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Area Women’s Center.

“Everybody is working cooperatively and collaboratively to figure out the problem and to find ways to correct it,” said Wells, who is an associate professor of criminal justice at SHSU. “We are all working toward a common goal: improving our nation’s responses to sexual assault.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety estimates there are about 22,000 untested kits just in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, according to the Legislative Budget Board’s fiscal note for Senate Bill 1636 by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth). The LBB estimates a cost of nearly $24 million over the next biennium to implement the legislation, based on numbers from those three cities. Before passage by the Senate, Davis added a provision that the legislation would be implemented only to the extent that funding is available.

Davis’ bill implements guidelines for new rape kits to be submitted for analysis and tested, before testing begins for older rape kits (in active cases since 1996).

Large numbers of untested rape kits — containing biological or trace evidence in cases of sexual assault — are not uncommon in cities throughout the country. An NIJ article reported 10,000 untested kits in Los Angeles, 12,000 in Dallas and 10,500 in Detroit.

“These research projects will enable us to better understand what happens to sexual assault evidence, why it might not be analyzed, and what we need to do to fix the problem,” said NIJ Director John Laub in the news release. “When sexual assault kits go untested, it can result in significant and unnecessary delays in justice for sexual assault victims.”

Another NIJ report delineated various reasons given for why rape kits go untested, including doubt of “probative value,” charges against suspects being dropped, suspects pleading guilty or issues of consensual sex.

According to the news release:

The new study also is expected to address other related issues in the criminal justice system, including funding for testing and DNA investigations; protocols for issuing a warrant if a DNA sample is found but doesn’t match a CODIS profile; and additional caseloads for prosecutors and public defenders.

Among some of the questions that will be examined in the Phase I study are:

• Should all sexual assault kits be tested?

• Is a triage method more effective?

• How should victims be notified when the case is reopened after many years?

• What kind of training should law enforcement receive to make the best decisions about sending sexual assaults kits to the crime lab?

Earlier this year, Wells and colleagues released a study on a different criminal justice issue facing the Texas Legislature, concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses. Led by SHSU criminal justice professor Jeffrey Bouffard, the survey of SHSU students and counterparts at a Washington university showed more students were uncomfortable about having guns on campus than were comfortable with the idea, the Texas Independent previously reported.

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.