House Passes Bill Funding Key Justice Programs

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) 2015 federal spending bill that funds Department of Justice (DOJ) programs. The bill provides $27.8 billion for DOJ programs in FY2015, an increase of $383 million over current spending.

Under this bill, the Second Chance Act would be funded at $62.8 million, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) would receive $13 million, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative would receive $30 million, including $1 million for the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections.

Congressional leaders recently took strong, bipartisan action in support of three key criminal justice programs that are focused on increasing public safety and reducing recidivism, and helping state and local governments address their criminal justice challenges:

  • Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) circulated a letter in support of funding the Second Chance Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in April 2008. It is a common sense, evidence-based approach to improving outcomes for people returning to their communities from prisons and jails. This House letter had 75 signatures.
  • Congressmen Rich Nugent (R-FL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and John Conyers (D-MI) circulated a letter in support of funding the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). The law created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program and seeks to improve access to treatment for people with mental disorders involved in the criminal justice system by funding such initiatives as mental health courts and crisis intervention teams. This House letter had 62 signatures.
  • Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) circulated a letter in support of funding the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which is a data-driven approach to reducing corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvesting savings in strategies that improve public safety. By managing criminal justice populations more cost-effectively, states generate savings that are reinvested in evidence-based strategies to increase public safety while holding offenders accountable. This House letter had 38 signatures.

A summary of key programs follows:

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The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to release their version of the CJS funding bill. Appropriations bills must be passed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as the full House and Senate.

For the text of the bill, click here. For the bill report, click here.