Government watchdog finds 85 percent backlog in DNA analysis

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says there was an 85 percent increase in the backlog of crime scene DNA analysis at labs around the U.S. between 2011 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office released a report Thursday finding demands for DNA analysis outpaced crime labs’ ability to complete the requests. But the labs have consistently completed more requests over time.

The report found a jump from 91,000 to 169,000 backlogged cases, based on data provided by agencies that receive grant money from the Justice Department.

The watchdog found advancements in DNA and state laws requiring analysis in some cases, including sexual assaults, led to the increase in requests.

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The Justice Department said the demand is partially due to requests to process DNA from unsolved homicides and sexual assaults and potentially erroneous convictions.