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Illinois Cuts Forensic Testing Backlog

Illinois has made headway in its backlog of DNA tests, cutting the number of tests waiting to be run in about half, CBS Chicago reports.

According to WBEZ, the backlog has been an issue for years, "delaying justice for victims, stifling investigations, and leaving some defendants locked up for years awaiting trial." It adds that addressing the waiting tests has been a priority for Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly.

The Illinois state police's forensic services division says the number of DNA samples awaiting testing has fallen from 9,289 in March 2019 to 4,857 as of Monday, CBS Chicago reports. In particular, it says the number of samples that were more than a year old dropped from 1,329 in January 2020 to 186 in November and the number of sexual assault samples awaiting testing that are more than six months old fell from 1,059 in January to 280 in November.

According to CBS Chicago, the forensic division says it was able to address part of its backlog by streamlining the workflow, incorporating robotics, using rapid DNA tests, and hiring more forensic scientists.