Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Funding cuts wreaking havoc on policing, courts and treatment

An annual survey of state and local criminal justice practitioners conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) and National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) is helping to gain insight into the impact of budget cuts.

The survey received more than 1,200 responses from all sectors of the criminal justice community, including law enforcement, the judicial system, corrections and community corrections, juvenile justice and prevention programs, victim assistance programs, and social services.

It found that more than 75 percent of respondents reported funding cuts that led to workforce reductions, salary freezes, and drastic curtailing of the services they provide. For example, of the 346 law enforcement respondents, 75 percent saw a cut in funding between 1 and 25 percent. Because of these cuts, 64 percent reported reduction in staffing, 63 percent reported a reduction in services provided, and 58 percent reported pay freezes.

Since 2010, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program has been cut by 34 percent, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring grants by 44 percent, in-prison drug treatment supported by the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) program by 67 percent, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by 75 percent, and juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives under the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by more than 50 percent. With these cuts, these programs are at historically low levels of funding.

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