"The processing and analysis of controlled substance evidence accounts for a significant proportion of the work performed by forensic crime laboratories. Crime laboratories are faced with ever-increasing caseloads and demands for prompt analytical information, and the impact of drug chemistry analysis on laboratory backlogs has been largely overlooked. RTI International was funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to conduct the Controlled Substances Case Processing Study. The primary objectives of the study were to (1) gain an improved understanding of how controlled substances cases are processed, from the point of collection (law enforcement) through analysis (forensic laboratories) to subsequent criminal justice processes (prosecution), including factors that influence decision making at different stages in the process; (2) describe the role that controlled substances evidence plays in charging decisions by prosecutors, pretrial plea negotiations, and post trial convictions; and (3) gather descriptive information from a range of U.S. jurisdictions that could be used to identify problems and develop systemic solutions to case backlogs and other inefficiencies in these forensic systems."
National Institute of Justice: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/niij