May 21 2015

Struggle to Process Backlogged Rape Kits Continues

Feature Stories | Published 21 May 2015, 10:15 am | Comments Off on Struggle to Process Backlogged Rape Kits Continues -

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GUESTS: Natasha Alexenko, Founder of the Natasha Justice Project, Abigail Tracy, Reporter for Vocativ. She recently wrote an article entitled, “Rape Kit Backlog Grows Nationwide, Jeopardizing Prosecutions.”

It is a strange thing that when a rape is reported and evidence collected, that the rapist can go free for years simply because law enforcement often do not bother to follow up on the evidence. Rapists can go on to assault many more women before they are caught, if ever. They can even have the statute of limitations on their crimes expire just because no one got around to processing the evidence against them. Imagine if murderers or other criminals got the same treatment.

In recent years, the huge back-log of so-called rape kits in cities around the country has proven to be embarrassing enough that there is action. While Los Angeles and New York have cleared their rape kit backlogs, many cities remain behind. My guest Abigail Tracy reports that, “Memphis is currently testing its way through 12,347 kits. Detroit found 11,341 unprocessed kits in a storage facility in 2009. Houston and Las Vegas are tackling backlogs of 6,663 and 4,385 rape kits, respectively. And there are dozens of other cities with counts in the hundreds and thousands, and many more that don’t even know if they are sitting on massive piles of untested evidence.”

To learn more on Natasha Alexenko’s work visit natashajusticeproject.org and Abigail Tracy’s work at vocativ.com.

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