WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Public Safety was awarded a grant of over $3 million to help reduce a backlog of untested DNA and rape kits in the state.
The funding, which is a total of $3,380,629, comes through the Department of Justice as part of the Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. It’s authorized by the Debbie Smith Act.
The act helps provide funding to eligible governmental bodies to address the backlog of DNA evidence.
This is an issue Texas has been battling for years. The Texas Forensic Science Commission worked in 2016 to streamline rape kits. In 2019, legislation to tackle a backlog of untested rape kits was introduced.
Sen. John Cornyn has also fought to mitigate the process. He helped author three different laws in 2018 and 2019. Cornyn announced the grant on Tuesday.
“As long as rape kits sit untested, authorities are failing the victims and communities we’ve sworn to protect,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I am proud to have authored three laws to help drive down our national backlog, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to ensure survivors receive the closure they deserve and that justice is served.”