With approximately 250,000 items of sexual assault evidence mired in three- to 12-month backlogs as they await analysis in U.S. forensic laboratories, there is an alarming nationwide need for a time-efficient way to get this work done. And according to Jessica Voorhees Norris, a Ph.D. candidate in forensic chemistry, she has found a better way. She developed a method for handling rape kit evidence that reduces part of the DNA analysis time from 24 hours to as little as 30 to 45 minutes and improves the sperm cell recovery rate by 100 percent. If her method is adopted by forensic labs – and the results accepted by courts – the backlog could potentially be reduced within months.
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