Download Full Text (1.4 MB)




In this research brief, we present final outcomes for individuals in Cuyahoga County who lawfully “owe” DNA – meaning DNA that should have been collected because of a qualifying criminal offense(s) but was not. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and researchers from the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University collaborated on a project funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to: (a) identify individuals who owe DNA, (b) collect swabs from eligible suspects who owe, and (c) follow up on what happens after their DNA is entered into CODIS (the federal DNA database). The findings presented in this brief detail the outcomes of our efforts, including how many people who owed DNA have now been confirmed to have their DNA in the CODIS, and the number and types of crimes to which these individuals have now been connected. The findings highlight the strong probative value of DNA in criminal investigations and the importance of ensuring DNA is collected from those who lawfully owe. Recommendations and lessons learned are provided for other jurisdictions that are addressing their own owed DNA issues.


owed DNA, forensic evidence, sexual assault kit initiative, sexual violence


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Final Report: Outcomes from Efforts to Swab Individuals Who Lawfully “Owe” DNA in Cuyahoga County