Target: Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, Texas
Goal: Applaud Houston officials for processing 6,663 old rape kits.
Over 6,600 old rape kits have been processed by Houston, Texas officials, finally clearing a backlog which included rape kits from three decades ago. According to a statement by the mayor, results of the 6,663 tests were uploaded into a federal DNA database which was able to match 850 cases to possible suspects. So far, charges have been laid against 29 people, and six have been convicted.
Rape kits are made up of physical evidence and biological samples taken from a victim. The process of preparing the kit can be invasive and traumatic to a victim who has already suffered a severe ordeal. Due to the high cost of processing, which can range from $500 to $1,000, some cities accumulate substantial backlogs. Unfortunately, these backlogs are not uncommon in major cities, including Memphis, Detroit, and Cleveland, which have recently made efforts to clear their own surplus of untested evidence.
Houston’s work is part of a six million dollar effort to bring long overdue justice to thousands of rape victims. Now that testing has been finished, officials will move on to building cases that can be sent to prosecutors. Any convictions that result from this work could lead to a prison sentence of 2 to 45 years for the offender.
While initially allowing evidence to build up untested for so long is disrespectful to the victims of rape, finally addressing the kits is a good start point to bringing justice to thousands of people. Now that all the evidence has been processed, hundreds of criminals will finally be apprehended in the coming months. Sign the petition below to praise Houston’s successful initiative to investigate a backlog of rape kits.
Dear Mayor Annise Parker,
Houston officials recently cleared a backlog of rape kits, some over three decades old. The results, when compared with nationwide DNA databases, brought up 850 matches. Of these matches, 29 people have been charged and six have been convicted with rape, a charge punishable by 2 to 45 years in prison. Officials will continue to investigate the cases in order to charge and incarcerate more offenders.
Rape kits contain physical evidence and biological samples that are usually obtained through uncomfortable and invasive processes. Not processing these kits, even though the cost is so high, is disrespectful to the victims of rape. By finally getting through the backlog of evidence, thousands of victims will get the justice they deserve. We, the undersigned, praise Houston’s success in working through thousands of backlogged rape kits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dysfunctional via Public Domain