Return to the USDOJ/OIG Home Page
Return to the Table of Contents

Compliance With Standards Governing Convicted Offender DNA Sample Backlog Reduction Program Activities The Bode Technology Group, Inc. Springfield, Virginia

Report No. GR-80-01-018
September 6, 2001
Office of the Inspector General


Background Information

Combined DNA Index System

CODIS, as the system is commonly called, allows law enforcement agencies to compare DNA specimen information with that of other law enforcement agencies around the country, with the goal of matching case evidence to other previously unrelated cases or to persons already convicted of other violent or sexual crimes. Laboratories that participate in CODIS perform DNA analysis on specimens from convicted offenders or crime-scene evidence. These laboratories use special software, provided free of charge by the FBI, to organize and manage the DNA profiles and related information. The software also compares DNA profiles from participating laboratories and notifies the appropriate laboratories when two or more DNA profiles match.

CODIS was first described and authorized by the DNA Identification Act (Act) of 1994. The Act authorized the FBI to establish and maintain a national CODIS database and also contained guidelines for the inclusion of DNA profiles, the participation of state and local laboratories, and the penalty 2 for failure to comply with the guidelines.

The Act also established the DNA Advisory Board-an entity commissioned by the FBI to compose standards for quality assurance with which CODIS-participating laboratories are to comply. The Board, comprised of representatives from the FBI as well as state and local laboratories, completed this task by recommending for issuance the QAS that were subsequently issued by the Director of the FBI. All CODIS laboratories are responsible for complying with the Act, including the QAS and disclosure and proficiency testing requirements, as well as ensuring that any contractors they use for the analysis of CODIS profiles do the same.

Offender Backlog Reduction Program

The Convicted Offender DNA Sample Backlog Reduction Program provides funding to state DNA laboratories for outsourcing to private labs the analysis of large quantities of backlogged convicted offender samples for expedited entry into the national CODIS database.

A total of $14.4 million was dispersed through grants to 21 state laboratories in the first year of the program (FY 2000). Funds were provided to the state laboratories based upon the number of samples those laboratories had awaiting analysis multiplied by an estimated cost for analysis of $50 per offender sample. Based on these calculations, NIJ management has estimated that approximately 290,000 samples will be added to CODIS as a result of the Program's first year grants. A planned second round of grants is expected to be announced at the end of FY 2001.

  1. Failure to comply with the guidelines may result in the imposition of a fine of up to $100,000.