U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, today announced that the Senate unanimously approved passage of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2008. This measure extends a vital federal DNA backlog processing program through fiscal year 2014.
"The use of forensic evidence in criminal cases is paramount to solving crimes," said Shelby. "Unfortunately, DNA backlogs have plagued our nation's law enforcement for many years, allowing criminals to remain on our streets. The Debbie Smith Act has been instrumental in allowing criminal investigators to identify and prosecute rapists in an efficient manner. It is critical that we continue our efforts to make our neighborhoods safe by taking these criminals off the streets and putting them behind bars."
The FY 2009 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill provides $151 million under the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program to process the thousands of unprocessed DNA evidence kits. Over the past four years, the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Program has had a major impact on helping to reduce caseloads throughout the country.