The number of untested forensic DNA samples has grown by 85 percent in the past six years, the Washington Post reports. It adds that this is despite $1 billion in federal funding to tackle the issue.
Experts tell the Post, though, that the problem is actually due to forensic DNA testing being a victim of its own success. According to a Government Accountability Office report, the Justice Department hasn't been meeting its goals for reducing the DNA testing backlog and that "the goal of eliminating backlogs is unachievable in the foreseeable future because [of] increases in demand for DNA analysis."
In particular, the report found that the number of samples sent for DNA testing increased from 242,000 in 2011 to 308,000 in 2017, and while the number of samples tested rose from 217,000 to 279,000, the backlog still grew.
"I think the labs are doing a spectacular job," Scott Berkowitz, the CEO and founder of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, which helped pass the Debbie Smith Act, the grant program to fund crime labs tells the Post, "but they're drinking from a fire hose."