Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law mandating police departments across the state to send rape kits to the Illinois State Police laboratory or an approved lab within 10 business days of acquiring the evidence. Illinois is the first state to pass such a law, which will go in to effect on October 1st. State officials hope that more and faster scrutiny of evidence will increase the number of arrests for such cases, which now stand at only 11 percent: The national average is 22 percent. Similar laws have increased arrests in other cities, including New York and Los Angeles.
Jamie Fellner is the Senior Council of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch; her organization released a new study today revealing that most rape kits in Illinois are never tested. Eugene O'Donnell is a professor of law and police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and he sees the same problem in states all across the country, but has seen states make improvements as well.