Today, President Obama unveiled his nearly $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016, which allocates $1.14 billion for state and local law enforcement assistance.
The proposed budget provides $120 million in continued support for Second Chance Act programs. The Second Chance Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008, has provided critical resources for prisoner reentry programs, working to reduce high recidivism rates and support communities. With approximately 600,000 individuals returning home from prison each year, successful reentry is a public safety and cost-savings imperative. By supporting evidence-based, effective solutions to recidivism, the Second Chance Act account promotes safer communities, stronger families, and smarter fiscal policies. Since 2009, more than 600 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles.
Significant funding is also proposed for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which helps state and local governments conduct comprehensive, data-driven analyses of their criminal justice systems and adopt smart, evidence-based policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. This investment is already paying off for states—such as West Virginia and North Carolina—that have implemented Justice Reinvestment strategies.
For the first time, the president’s budget proposal also includes funding for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). MIOTCRA was signed into law in 2004 and created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program to help states, local government, and tribal organizations improve responses to people with mental disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system. The program facilitates collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and behavioral health systems to better serve individuals with mental disorders and to increase public safety.
Below is a breakdown of key criminal justice programs in President Obama’s budget proposal that are CSG Justice Center priorities.
Justice Funding Highlights
The proposed budget also includes funding for various school safety initiatives, including:
- $75 million for the Comprehensive School Safety Program, an initiative will bring together national experts to research the root causes of school violence, develop technologies and strategies for increasing school safety, and provide pilot grants to test innovative approaches to enhance school safety across the country.
- $42 million for the Delinquency Prevention Program, a program that provides resources through state advisory groups to units of local government for a broad range of delinquency prevention programs and activities to benefit youth who are at risk of having contact with the juvenile justice system.
- $10 million for Juvenile Justice and Education Collaboration Assistance, an initiative aimed at reducing the use of arrest and juvenile justice courts as a response to non-serious youth who are considered to be misbehaving in and around schools.
These funding levels for 2016 will not be finalized until Congress passes the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.
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