The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has announced almost $160 million in grant awards to support crime laboratories, fund forensics research, decrease DNA backlogs and help investigators locate missing persons and identify human remains. The funding is administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
“Forensic science can play an indispensable role in solving crimes, absolving the innocent and finding the missing — all of which helps deliver justice to victims and their families,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The Justice Department is pleased to support the thousands of dedicated professionals who investigate cases, staff our nation’s crime labs and work so hard to help ensure the fair and effective operation of our criminal justice system.”
The awards announced today will support DNA analysis, build the capacity of the nation’s crime labs to examine forensic evidence, help solve cold cases and enable coroners, medical examiners and law enforcement officials to locate missing persons and identify human remains. Grants will also expand the base of knowledge about the utility of forensic tools employed by investigators.
“One of the most urgent challenges facing criminal justice professionals today is earning and retaining the confidence of the communities they serve, a goal that forensic science, with all its untapped potential, can help us achieve,” said BJA Director Karhlton F. Moore. “These investments will give our state, local and Tribal partners the resources they need to solve crimes, improve the clearance rate for serious offenses like murder and sexual assault and bring long-awaited answers to victims and their families.”
“Building a strong forensic science infrastructure is a critical first step in the pursuit of justice and it is vital to ensuring the integrity of our justice system,” said NIJ Director Dr. Nancy La Vigne. “The National Institute of Justice is proud to help strengthen our nation’s forensic network by widening our understanding of the application of scientific methods and techniques to public safety.”
BJA and NIJ are distributing millions of dollars in awards to state and local jurisdictions throughout the United States and territories. Below is a list of funded grants. Descriptions of individual awards can be found by clicking on the links.
- BJA is awarding $25 million under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (Formula) and Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Program (Competitive) to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services, including services provided by laboratories operated by states and units of local government.
- BJA is awarding $7.5 million under the Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program to increase the capacity of state and local prosecution offices to address and close violent crime cold cases.
- BJA is awarding $2 million under the Strengthening the Medical Examiner-Coroner System Program to strengthen the medical examiner-coroner system in the United States by supporting forensic pathology fellowships and providing resources necessary for medical examiner and coroner offices to achieve and maintain accreditation.
- BJA is awarding $100 million under the DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program to increase the capacity of publicly funded forensic DNA and DNA database laboratories to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis and/or prevent a backlog of forensic and database DNA samples.
- BJA is awarding $4.5 million under the Missing and Unidentified Human Remains Program to provide funding to eligible applicants for services focused on reporting and identifying missing persons and unidentified human remains cases in the United States.
- BJA is awarding $2.8 million under the Forensics Training and Technical Assistance Program to provide support to the forensic science grant programs administered by the BJA (an estimated 500-plus grantees). These programs provide states and localities with resources and tools to improve the quality of their forensic science services in order to meet the challenges of crime and justice and to improve overall public safety.
- NIJ is awarding $11.7 million under the Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes to support projects that will increase the body of knowledge to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice, or lead to the production of useful materials, devices, systems or methods that have the potential for forensic application.
- NIJ is awarding $1.3 million under the Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories to produce practical knowledge that has the potential to improve the examination and interpretation of physical evidence in forensic science laboratories.
The awards announced above are being made as part of the regular end-of-fiscal year cycle. Find out more about the awards at OJP