After months of delays and negotiations, Congress recently approved a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022. The omnibus spending bill, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15, 2022, funds various state and local justice system grant programs within the U.S. Department of Justice. These programs include the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, and the Second Chance Act. The bill provides the following:
- $40 million for JMHCP (up from $35 million in FY2021), authorized under the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act and reauthorized under the 21st Century Cures Act. These funds ensure that criminal justice and mental health systems throughout the country have the money they need to serve some of the nation’s most vulnerable people. The law funds mental health courts, mental health and substance use disorder treatment for people in the criminal justice system, community reentry services, local law enforcement training to help officers identify and improve responses to people who have mental health needs, and many other programs intended to address the needs of people with mental health conditions coming into contact with the criminal justice system. U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Norma Torres (D-CA), and Don Bacon (R-NE); and U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) circulated letters in Congress in support of more funding for this program.
- $35 million for Justice Reinvestment (up from $33 million in FY2021), a data-driven approach that helps states reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvest savings into strategies that improve public safety. In recent years, more than 35 states have used a Justice Reinvestment approach to develop policies to slow overall prison growth, and for some states, reduce the total prison population. States have invested hundreds of millions in effective supervision and treatment programs to make communities safer. These investments have included efforts to improve community supervision, expand community-based treatment and services, create grants to support local law enforcement, enhance victims’ services, and more. U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Carol Miller (R-WV), and Lucy McBath (D-GA); and U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) circulated letters in Congress in support of more funding for this program.
- $115 million for the Second Chance Act (up from $100 million in FY2021), which was reauthorized as part of the landmark First Step Act. Since its enactment, recipients of Second Chance Act grants have worked to improve outcomes for people returning to their communities from prisons and jails, providing vital services—including employment training and assistance, substance use disorder treatment, education, housing, family programming, mentoring, and victims’ support. There have been more than 900 grants awarded in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, allowing jurisdictions to develop, improve, and expand reentry programs and policies. Second Chance Act grantees have served more than 164,000 participants since 2009.
U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Danny Davis (D-IL); and U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rob Portman (R-OH) circulated letters in Congress in support of more funding for this program.
In addition to funding the programs above, the package includes:
- The requested $409.5 million for programs and activities authorized by the First Step Act of 2018, including medication-assisted treatment;
- $575 million for Violence Against Women Act prevention and prosecution programs;
- $50 million for a new Community Violence Intervention and Prevention initiative; and nearly $300 million in community projects to fight crime and improve public safety in communities across the country;
- $40 million for the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program, which assists states with developing and implementing residential substance use disorder treatment programs within state correctional facilities and local correctional and detention facilities in which people are incarcerated long enough to permit substance use treatment;
- $10 million for the Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act of 2020, which addresses the mental health and substance use disorder needs of individuals who are recently released from correctional facilities; and
- A reminder to the Attorney General to comply with congressional direction and use the $5 million appropriated in FY2021 for the development and deployment of databases to track excessive use of force and officer misconduct. These databases are to be developed in consultation with state and local law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and advocacy groups, including people who advocate for the preservation of civil liberties and civil rights.
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