The FBI’s laboratory is clearing up a backlog of DNA testing for convicted offenders, but its backlog of forensic DNA collected from crime scenes and victims has grown to 3,200 cases, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Monday. The Associated Press says the mixed report card on the FBI lab comes the month before the FBI anticipates it will eliminate a backlog of DNA cases involving convicted offenders that topped 300,000 last year.
The FBI lab has put automated processes in place to analyze the samples and has assigned more people to the task. The backlog is due to federal legislation that expanded the scope of DNA sample collection from violent convicted federal offenders to include anyone who commits a federal offense as well as non-U.S. citizens detained in the United States. Backlogs on the forensic front can delay legal proceedings and prevent the timely capture of criminals. The FBI says it will address the backlog by bringing on board 17 additional forensic examiners, although training will take as long as two years.