dna test 080720CHICAGO – The Illinois State Police’s Division of Forensic Services (DFS) Forensic Sciences Command (FSC) released the DNA Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2020 last week, and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is highlighting its major improvements to reduce the DNA backlog, while recognizing there is still work to be done.

“I am excited about the progress ISP has made,” Van Pelt said. “I hope this trend continues, and I will keep tracking them to make sure they continue to move forward in fulfilling their commitment to giving these families justice.”

During FY20, biology submissions were up by 9% from the previous fiscal year, and ISP completed nearly 16,000 biology assignments within the laboratory system, reducing that backlog by at least 30%.

With the implementation of the new Laboratory Information Management System, ISP now defines “backlog” as an unfinished offender sample, either in-progress or one that hasn't begun.

ISP employed a total of 61 fully trained forensic scientists working on Biology assignments or performing analytical-related activities in June.

In addition to the constant pursuit of federal funding, ISP addressed the biology backlog through outsourcing, the use of overtime and the purchase of additional commodities and equipment, ensuring that more cases were analyzed. In FY20, ISP spent $2.6 million in federal grant funds, which is a 116% increase from the $1.2 million in FY19.

“This report shows a great deal of progress from where efforts were just a few years ago,” Van Pelt said. “But we must keep in mind that just because the kits were processed, doesn’t mean the cases were closed. There are families still awaiting due process in Chicago, and I won’t stop fighting for them until they get it.”

To further reduce the backlog, ISP plans to implement other initiatives including probabilistic genotyping, purchasing additional automated instruments, and streamlining additional procedures.

ISP’s latest developments on the backlog can be tracked here.