This Fact Sheet of the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) reports on the goals, accomplishments, funding, and awards for FY 2002-2020 of BJA’s Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (the Coverdell Program).
The goal of the Coverdell Program is to award grants to states and units of local government that assist them in improving the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services. Coverdell grants must be used for one or more of the following purposes: 1) improvement in the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner/coroner services in the state; 2) elimination of a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence; 3) training, assisting, and employment of forensic laboratory personnel; 4) addressing emerging forensic science issues and technology; 5) educating and training forensic pathologists; and 6) facilitation of accreditation and certification to medicolegal death investigators. A graph shows the amount and comparative number of awards for each of the fiscal years 2002-2020. For these years, 1,513 awards were made. From FY 2011 to FY 2018, approximately 1 million backlog cases were analyzed with Coverdell funds; approximately 10,000 forensic science personnel attended training; approximately 1,000 medical examiner personnel attended training; and from 2017 to 2018, 4 agencies received initial accreditation and 70 agencies used fees to maintain accreditation. 1 figure, listing of additional resources, and a BJA profile