Rhode Island to Receive Over $120,000 for DNA Laboratory Improvements
WASHINGTON, DC In an effort to enhance DNA research across Rhode Island, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) today informed U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) that it was awarding the Rhode Island Department of Health $123,296 for improvements to infrastructure and analysis capacity so that DNA samples can be processed efficiently and cost effectively. Reed stated, Within the past two decades, DNA technology has been a key tool in helping law enforcement fight crime and is being used to prove either the guilt or innocence of defendants. This federal funding will allow existing DNA research facilities across the state to upgrade their labs to help ensure that these samples are processed quickly and accurately.Federal funding is provided through the DNA Capacity Enhancement Program which provides grants to states and local governments with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to help prevent backlogs. Among other things, funding may be used for facility renovation, staff hiring and training, purchasing supplies and to upgrade laboratory and computer equipment. In 2003, Reed cosponsored legislation to increase access to DNA testing for death row inmates. Reed also supported legislation which became law in 2004 to allow federal inmates to obtain post-conviction DNA testing and authorized $755 million over five years to improve DNA analysis and processing.