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New timeline for processing rape kits in Mississippi to take effect this summer



Mississippi State Capitol building
Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson.

Mississippi is set to implement a new timeline for processing rape kits in the state, WLBT reports.

Advocates partnered with national organizations to raise awareness about the issue of delayed processing of rape kits. The new legislation will require medical facilities to contact law enforcement within four hours of performing a rape kit exam. Law enforcement will then have 24 hours to pick up the kit and deliver it to the crime lab no later than seven days from that point. The crime lab will then have 60 days to process the kit.

Sandy Middleton, the Executive Director of the Center for Violence Prevention, addressed the importance of the recent legislation in terms of aiding victims and thwarting such crimes in the community. The timeline is scheduled to come into effect this summer, giving hope to victims of rape and sexual assault across the state.

The bill was signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves, the day before similar legislation failed in Tennessee. In Tennessee, the case of Eliza Fletcher, a kidnapped runner from Memphis, was used as an illustration of why such legislation was required. The suspect in her murder was identified through DNA found in an unexamined rape kit.

Advocates hope that the new legislation in Mississippi will help prevent similar tragedies from occurring by ensuring that rape kits are processed in a timely manner. For more information on resources, contact the Center for Violence Prevention at 601-932-4198.

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