Legislator Pushes For Stricter Rape Kit Testing Procedures

(Memphis) For the first time, there’s a legal push to get all rape kits tested and all rapists behind bars.

State Representative Antonio Parkinson admits there’s a long way to go and a lot of unanswered question, but he plans on making it mandatory to test all kits.

This comes weeks after Memphis Police admitted 12,000 rape kits since the early ’80s have not been tested.

Parkinson’s bill aims at keeping that from happening again.

“It ensures the evidence collected in the sexual assault kits have to be submitted within ten days of collection to TBI or to a TBI-authorized lab for testing,” he said.

Once those kits are submitted, whoever is testing them would have six months to make sure they get processed.

“That’s very important because right now with us having so many kits in back log these victims or even these individuals being accused of the crime are being victimized twice,” Parkinson said. “There is a need to bring justice.”

Memphis Police Director Tony Armstrong agrees something must change.

“I certainly welcome any and all legislation to put in place to hold me accountable and my investigators responsible,” he said. “We are going to put processes in place so we don`t ever get back here again.”

Parkinson admits there are still a lot of question concerning the bill, from how much it will cost and who will enforce it but he believes you can’t put a dollar sign on justice.

“There’s not a cost you could give me that wouldn’t justify the safety of our citizens,” he said.

The legislation also asks TBI to submit a plan to District Attorneys and Homeland Security on how it plans to move forward with the back log of untested kits.

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