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Publication Survey of DNA Crime Laboratories, 1998

Greg W. Steadman, Bureau of Justice Statistics

February 18, 2000    NCJ 179104

Reports findings from a survey of publicly operated forensic crime labs that perform Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) testing. The survey included questions about each lab's budget, personnel, workloads, and operating policies procedures. Data were obtained from 108 out of a 120 estimated known labs -- including all statewide labs. As part of their DNA Laboratory Improvement Program, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded the survey to help identify workload and technology issues.


  • At the end of 1997, 69% of DNA labs had a backlog of 6,800 known and unknown subject cases and 287,000 convicted offender samples.
  • To alleviate case backlogs 44% of the labs had hired additional staff, 34% were using overtime, 13% were contracting with private labs, and 28% were using other methods.
  • The number of full-time staff in DNA labs ranged from 1 to 47, with a median staff size of 5. Three quarters of labs had fewer than 10 full-time staff.

Part of the Survey of DNA Crime Laboratories Series

Press Release (3K)
Full report (PDF 76K)
ASCII file (25K)
ZIP Format (Spreadsheet 19K)
Codebooks and Datasets

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National Survey of DNA Crime Laboratories

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