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Houston’s Crime Lab Will Outsource DNA, Rape Kit Testing To Clear Backlog

The Houston Forensic Science Center will spend $2 million to have a private lab process incoming DNA work for the next 10 months

A Houston crime lab that was opened in part to handle the city's significant backlog of DNA cases, now has a serious backlog of its own. The Houston Forensic Science Center plans to outsource most of its incoming DNA work for almost a year.

The center now has more than 900 requests for DNA testing that are more than 30 days old. About 200 of these are sexual assault kits.

Dr. Peter Stout, the center's CEO and president, says the outsourcing is temporary and will last about 10 months, "and a lot of that comes down to ensuring that we've got people cross-trained enough that they can do all of the various operations in the whole process. So what we're looking to do is as much of the incoming work as we can, taking that load off of the section so that we can finish out the cross-training that we've been needing to do for some time."

Stout puts the cost of the project at $2 million, half paid for by federal grants, the rest out of the center's existing budget.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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