“It’s not a surprise and it’s proof that this important law is working”
That’s the response of Rep Scott Holcomb, the man who originally proposed the rape kit bill in the Georgia House to the flood of rape kits coming from Sheriff’s and Police to the GBI.
The GBI has collected a total of 2,411 previously unsubmitted kits from all over the state.
GBI Spokeswoman Nelly Miles said law enforcement agencies had notified them of another 1,070 they intended to submit to the lab by the end of the month, as required by the new law.
While some are touting this as “success”, in some minds its not something to crow about.
“There are dozens of women in our community waiting for answers,” said Kesha Gibson-Carter, head of the Rape Crisis Center.
“I think its an insult to women, and insult to victims that 40 years after these organizations were created we are at this juncture where we are pressing and pushing for rape kit submission,” said Gibson-Carter.
“What are the results of those kits? Because what we do know is nationwide, in some jurisdictions and cities they have shown up to 20% increase in matches when those kits are processed.”
According to the new law, kits will now be processed within 96 hours and sent to the GBI within 30 days. Numbers which Carter says our area is continually faster than, but thats where the good news ends.
The national rate of arrests is 25%. Carter says that number is much lower, possibly half, in our area.
Law enforcement may also be failing when it comes sharing information with agencies that want to help.. like hers.
“We are a bit handicapped and a bit more cautious when it comes to transparency and accountability. Its only because of journalists like you and non profits like mine across the United States that we are continually in position to continuously advocate,” explains Gibson-Carter.
“As the agency that’s responsible for purchasing those kits,the agency that’s responsible for gathering the evidence contained within the kits, I think its only fitting that we are privy to that information.” said Carter.
Gibson-Carter says the good news is she’s been told no kits remain on shelves of law enforcement in our area.
Now she is worried about this flood of kits and when they might be processed, so victims can get some answers.
The GBI has gotten a federal grant to send some off to another lab out of state, but there’s still no timetable when they might come back.