FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- A study released Friday has found the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Kentucky cost the state millions of dollars.
A study released Friday has found the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Kentucky cost the state millions of dollars.
According to a report released by Kentucky’s Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee, the recent backlog of more than 3,000 untested rape kits cost the state more than $4 million and counting.
“I’ll tell you when we saw the data completed this was our reaction, woah,” said Eileen Recktenwold, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
The study found just the first 1000 untested kits were linked to close to one hundred offenders who went on to commit more crimes after their sexual assault.
“You know if we had folks in jail already, maybe they wouldn’t have committed these crimes and offended against other people, killed other people. This is really serious,” said Recktenwold.
The backlog of rape kits were all tested last year after the general assembly passed a bill requiring they be.
But officials say there’s still a chance this could happen again.
“One of the reasons why the kits were not tested is because the lab wasn’t fully funded. They didn’t have enough staff,” said Recktenwold.
Officials say the state’s forensic lab is currently being fully funded but suffers from under staffing and high turnover.
“Because all the states around us pay about $20,000 more than we do. So we hire them, we train them. It takes about a year to train this staff and then they go to other states because they get paid better,” said Recktenwold.
Officials say to fix this problem, lawmakers need to make funding the lab a high priority.
“That’s why we did the study and that’s why it was in the legislation because they definitely need something on which to base their decisions when they’re trying to figure out you know what poses the greatest threat to public safety and how much is it going to cost to assure that our citizens are safe,” said Recktenwold.
Lawmakers are currently crafting a state budget this general session.