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The Office of Justice Programs Convicted Offender
DNA Sample Backlog Reduction Grant Program

Report No. 02-20
May 2002
Office of the Inspector General


Federal Legislation

CODIS was first described and authorized in the DNA Identification Act of 1994 (Act). The Act, part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, authorized the FBI to establish and maintain CODIS. That authorization limited records in CODIS to those that are: based upon analyses meeting the FBI's quality assurance standards, prepared by labs undergoing external proficiency testing every 180 days, and maintained by criminal justice agencies that limit the disclosure of the information to approved groups. Access to the national CODIS database is subject to cancellation if these requirements are not met and penalties of up to $100,000 can be assessed for unauthorized disclosure or receipt of DNA samples/information. Each Program grantee signs a Statutory Assurance Certification, stating that they will comply with the provisions of the Act, which in turn means that they must require their contractors to comply with the Act, since the contractors are doing the actual DNA analysis work.

The Act also established the DNA Advisory Board (DAB), an entity that was to compose standards for quality assurance with which CODIS-participating laboratories would have to comply and which the Director of the FBI could then formally institute. The DAB produced one of the key sources of our audit criteria, as described below.

Quality Assurance Standards

A key source of criteria for our audits of the grantee and contractor laboratories is the quality assurance standards recommended by the DAB and formally instituted by the Director of the FBI. Although two sets of standards have been instituted, only the set specific to the analysis of convicted offender samples, the Offender QAS, applies to our audits.

The Offender QAS contains 130 elements, organized under 14 headings, of pertinence to our audits of the contractor laboratories. Not included in this count are the six elements found under one heading, which are only applicable to our audits of the grantee laboratories. The remaining headings are as follows:

The Offender QAS contains six elements found under one heading, titled "Subcontractor of Analytical Testing for which Validated Procedures Exist," of pertinence to our audits of the grantee laboratories. Among more general requirements, the elements specify on-site visits, random re-analysis of samples, inclusion of quality control samples, and visual inspection of data returned by the contractor.

Program Grant Solicitation

The grant solicitation issued by OJP serves as another source of audit criteria for our audits of the eight grantee laboratories. Per the grant solicitation, Program grantee states were required to: