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Justice Department Awards More Than $210 Million to Support Forensic Science
The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced grant awards totaling more than $210 million to fund crime laboratories, support research, decrease DNA backlogs and help law enforcement identify missing persons. The funding is administered by the OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
“The department is committed to strengthening and expanding forensic capabilities from the crime scene to the courtroom,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Supporting forensic science nationwide helps bring justice, closure and peace to victims and their families.”
Since 2004, the department has funded more than $1 billion to support DNA analysis, laboratory capacity enhancement and forensic science research that provide knowledge and tools to improve the quality and practice of forensic science.
“A sound and robust forensic science infrastructure is critical to public safety and to the integrity of our systems of justice,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon for OJP. “These awards provide critical resources that will allow investigators, crime lab professionals and forensic specialists to solve crimes, bring answers to victims and ensure that the principles of fairness and equity are fully reflected in our criminal justice practices.”
BJA and NIJ distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in awards to local, state and Tribal jurisdictions throughout the United States and territories. Here is a list of funded grants:
- More than $43 million will support BJA’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which improves state and local jurisdictions’ capacities to respond to violent crime and to bolster the criminal justice system through the investigation and prosecution of cases resulting from sexual assault kit evidence and the collection of DNA.
- Nearly $1 million supports BJA’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence – Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting Program, an evidence management program for untested and unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
- Another $7 million will support BJA’s Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program, which is designed to increase the capacity of state and local prosecution offices to address violent crime cold cases.
- BJA will award more than $89.6 million to support the DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program, which funds states and local governments with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to increase the capacity of their laboratories.
- Nearly $29.7 million will support the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, which aims to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services.
- More than $2 million will support the Strengthening the Medical Examiner and Coroner Program, which increases the supply of forensic pathologists and supports the enhancement of medicolegal death investigations nationwide.
- BJA will award more than $3.3 million under the Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations and Training and Technical Assistance Program, which supports state, local and Tribal law enforcement and prosecutors in their investigation and prosecution of cold case murders associated with civil rights violations.
- BJA will award nearly $5.5 million under the Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Site Based and Training and Technical Assistance Program, which provides efficient representation for defendants in post-conviction claims of innocence.
- Nearly $14.4 million will support NIJ’s Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes, which fosters research toward the development of highly-discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective and rapid methods for the identification, analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence.
- Another $1.3 million will support NIJ’s Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories, which evaluates existing laboratory protocols with the goal of making an immediate impact on laboratory efficiency.
- An additional $8.5 million will support NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence and National Center on Forensics, which help transfer new technology and knowledge to the forensic science community.
- NIJ will provide nearly $6 million under the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a national centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedents.
Additional information about these and other FY 2021 grant awards made by the Office of Justice Programs can be found online at the OJP Grant Awards Page.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
Press Release Number: 21-1295