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Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence (Postconviction) Program


Under the Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence (Postconviction) Program, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides funding to help defray the costs (e.g., of additional personnel, overtime, testing supplies and services) associated with postconviction DNA testing for violent felony offenses (as defined by state law) in which actual innocence might be demonstrated. This supports the DOJ mission “to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” While successful exonerations to correct injustice are notable program outcomes, the careful review, consideration, and closing of cases subjected to postconviction DNA testing that do not ultimately demonstrate innocence also work to advance the public’s interest that justice has been fairly applied.


The program aims to assist in:

  1. Identifying potential postconviction DNA testing cases.
  2. Reviewing appropriate postconviction cases to identify those in which DNA testing could prove the actual innocence of a person convicted of a violent felony offense as defined by state law.
  3. Locating biological evidence associated with such postconviction cases.
  4. Performing DNA analysis of appropriate biological evidence and reporting and reviewing of the DNA test results.


To learn more about the Postconviction Program and potential funding opportunities, please visit Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence (Postconviction) Program.

Since the advent of forensic DNA analysis, a growing number of Americans convicted of violent crimes have been exonerated through DNA analysis of evidence that was untested at the time of trial. New technologies have increased the likelihood of successful DNA analysis of aged, degraded, limited, or otherwise compromised biological evidence. As a result, crime scene samples once thought unsuitable for testing may now yield viable DNA profiles. Moreover, samples that had previously generated inconclusive DNA results may be amenable to reanalysis using newer methods.

Key Performance Metrics

More than 170,000 cases reviewed

More than 300 profiles uploaded to CODIS

More than 100 CODIS hits

59 exonerations have resulted from this program


Map coming soon.



The National Institute of Justice’s Report to Congress: Needs Assessment of Forensic Laboratories and Medical Examiner/Coroner Offices

In conducting this needs assessment, the Department identified the importance of strengthening these types of efforts through the increased use and institutionalization of systems-based approaches. Further, this needs assessment compiles demonstrative evidence of how the field adapts to advancements in technology, changes in the volume and types of forensic evidence...

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community. Continue reading…...

Innocence Project: DNA Exonerations, 1989-2014: Review of Data and Findings From the First 25 Years

The publication provides a comprehensive review of data and findings from the organizations first 25 years, highlighting the role of DNA evidence in overturning wrongful convictions. Continue reading…...
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The National Registry of Exonerations

The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. Continue reading…...

The Innocence Network

The Innocence Network is an informal coalition of independent innocence organizations dedicated to combating wrongful convictions worldwide and reforming the criminal legal system. Continue reading…...

BJA Forensic Grants 101 – Grant Application and Award Acceptance

This presentation reviews application submission and the peer review process for competitive grant programs. Continue reading…...
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DOJ Interim Policy Forensic Genetic Genealogical DNA Analysis and Searching

The purpose of this interim policy is to promote the reasoned exercise of investigative, scientific, and prosecutorial discretion in cases that involve forensic genetic genealogical DNA analysis and searching (‘FGGS’). (Description taken directly from the policy document) Continue reading…...
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Research coming soon.
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Exoneration of Terance Calhoun

In 2007, Terance Calhoun was convicted of sexual assault of two victims. DNA testing excluded him in 2007. Additional DNA testing was performed in 2019 by Bode confirming the original testing. On January 10, 2022, the Michigan State Police reported that a search of the FBI DNA database linked the...
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Upcoming Events

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Past Events

1st Annual BJA Forensics Programs Grantees Meeting

On behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Forensics Training and Technical Assistance (Forensics TTA) Team, led by RTI International, is hosting the 1st Annual BJA Forensics Programs Grantees Meeting, scheduled for October 2-3, 2023! Continue reading…...
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