Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Political Science


Sebold, Karen

Committee Member/Reader

Parry, Janine

Committee Member/Second Reader

Shields, Christopher

Committee Member/Third Reader

Davidson, Fiona


Untested rape kits sit in crime labs, hospitals, evidence lockers, or storage facilities untouched. In the worst-case scenarios, rape kits have been thrown out of police storage before the statute of limitations had expired. A major public policy problem is developing as these kits stack up and create a backlog. The primary problem with the rape kit backlog is that all victims are not receiving justice. To solve the problem, the backlog of rape kits needs further exploration and analysis. If a pattern can be established about why the problem is occurring, then policies can be constructed and implemented to effectively address the issue. Seeing what works in one jurisdiction can be translated to another based on their needs to solve the problem plaguing the United States. The key source of data derives from government sources of state data. This paper will describe the case studies on rape backlogs in various cities in the South and the legislative reform efforts that were passed to address the issue. This study will assess political ideology of the state’s congressional makeup and various other political, social, and economic variables. The goal of this research is to construct a better understanding of the public policy problem of the rape kit backlog and the reforms aimed at eliminating the problem that is plaguing jurisdictions. The legislative responses each state has had, funding awarded, media reports, backlog data, nationwide legislation, crime rates in each state and the laws regarding rape and rape kits will be considered.


rape kit, backlog, SAK, rape, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma