Today, President Obama unveiled his $4.23 trillion budget proposal for 2017, which allocates $29 billion for Department of Justice programs.
The proposed budget provides $100 million in continued support for Second Chance Act (SCA) programs. SCA—which was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008—authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reform aimed at improving the reentry process and reducing recidivism. By supporting evidence-based solutions to recidivism, SCA programs promote safer communities, stronger families, and smarter fiscal policies. Since 2009, more than 700 SCA grant have been awarded to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles.
Additionally, the budget requests $30 million for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which helps state and local governments conduct comprehensive, data-driven analyses of their criminal justice systems and adopt evidence-based policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. Because of federal investments in JRI, since 2010 30 states have pursued justice reinvestment-related policies, which have slowed overall prison growth and, in some states, reduced the total prison population.
President Obama’s budget proposal also includes $14 million 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 state and local governments 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. To date, MIOTCRA appropriations have funded 118 mental health courts and other court-based initiatives, supported 100 local police and county sheriff departments, and provided 347 grants to 47 states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam, and American Samoa.
Below is a breakdown of key criminal justice programs in President Obama’s budget proposal that are CSG Justice Center priorities.
The proposed budget also includes funding for various school safety initiatives, including:
- $75 million for the Comprehensive School Safety Program, an initiative that aims to 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 for youth who are misbehaving in and around schools.
- $20 million for the Smart on Juvenile Justice Initiative, a new initiative that will provide supplementary incentive grant awards to assist states in fostering better outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice system.
These funding levels for 2017 will not be finalized until Congress passes the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.