The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Office of the State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit two grants for a total $2.3 million to continue and expand its work in pursuing justice for victims of past sexual assaults.
The grants come from the federal Office of Justice Programs for the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, also known as SAKI.
Awards under the program are used to coordinate community responses and ensure just resolutions from previous crimes when tested kits provide new evidence.
The money will allow the State Attorney’s Office and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to continue their partnership and build on past efforts.
The State Attorney’s Office will use a $1.5 million grant awarded by the DOJ to continue its investigative and prosecutorial efforts. The award will continue to fund a team of assistant state attorneys, investigators, victim advocates and other community partners for the next three years.
The office will use an $880,933 grant to expand DNA databases through the collection of lawfully owed DNA from convicted offenders and arrestees. This grant will allow the State Attorney’s Office and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to add DNA profiles that could lead to more arrests and prosecutions of violent offenders, while providing justice for victims.
The State Attorney’s Office and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have partnered for the past three years on this initiative.
More than 1,700 kits have been submitted for testing, with the final batch submitted in spring 2017. The results have yielded more than 370 DNA “hits” to date and led to additional investigations. In the past year, tested kits have resulted in two successful prosecutions.