There is good news from the Alaska Department of Public Safety. About half of Alaska’s backlogged 2,568 rape kits, some of them languishing on shelves and in cabinets across the state for years, finally have been tested.
The agency told House Finance Budget Subcommittee members during an update that the testing continues on the state’s backlog.
“It is expected that these 2,568 sexual assault kits will be completed by September 2021,” the department said in a written response to subcommittee members.
Finally. Some of the kits have been stored for as long as 20 years.
Alaska is not the only state struggling with a backlog. The Accountability Project estimates there could be “hundreds of thousands” of the kits containing DNA or other vital evidence of sexual assaults gathering dust in police stations across the nation. The project alone has found nearly 40,000 untested rape kits in 41 jurisdictions.
You may, as we do, wonder how many serial rapists, sexual predators and murderers have been allowed to remain free and claim new victims because kits were not tested. It is a justice system failure of enormous proportion.
It is good the kits in Alaska are being tested. It will be better when there is no backlog.