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April 23, 2012

"Federal Anticrime Programs Hold Their Own in Another Tough Budget Year"

The title of this post is the the title of this astute observation via Ted Gest writing at The Crime Report.  Here are some numbers via the start of Ted's posting:

Despite the austere budget climate in Washington, many Department of Justice criminal justice agencies seem to be holding their own as Senate and House committees that fund the department allocate their money for the federal fiscal year starting October 1.  The two largest Justice Department components, the FBI and Bureau of Prisons, both would get increases under funding approved by a Senate appropriations subcommittee.  The FBI would get $8.2 billion, $114 million above this year's level, for such items as national security and cyberterrorism investigations and violent crime reduction.  The prison bureau would get a $269 million increase to $6.8 billion, which would among other things "enable the activation of new prisons that are currently sitting empty due to lack of funds."

April 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink


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Hardly anyone will deny that national security and cyberterrorism are worthy endeavours for DOJ funding. Heck, even Ron Paul might vote for them.

But we really ought to fund them by reducing elsewhere. The same article mentions $392 million in block crime-fighting grants to the states, an increase above current law. Maybe you can't go to zero all at once, but directionally it ought to be going down, not up.

And I would drastically reduce DOJ funding to prosecute offenses that are already illegal in all or most of the states. We could have a much smaller DOJ if its activities were limited to problems that are truly national in scope.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Apr 23, 2012 12:57:07 PM

'national security and cyberterrorism investigations'

really, how many of these overlapping federal agencies do we have to continually fund for the stuff???

'and violent crime reduction'

then what's all the hoopla about the declining crime rates...guess that's not inclusive of violent crimes??????

"enable the activation of new prisons that are currently sitting empty due to lack of funds."

huh, thought we had over space capacity in this area, what about these state prisons that are sitting idle for lack of occupants????

what a total lack of accountability there is for these public employees, just sick...

Posted by: Tom Danson | Apr 23, 2012 1:15:59 PM

"Despite the austere budget climate in Washington..."

What austere climate would that be? Spending, borrowing and (especially) taxes are all scheduled to go up next year. The word "austerity" has been mangled beyond recognition. When you continue to spend gazillions more than you're taking in, that may be many things, but "austere" is not one of them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 23, 2012 4:37:06 PM

From the article:
"juvenile justice programs could take a hit, with the Senate panel seeking $278 million and the House only $210 million, compared to a current $263 million, which itself is a big drop from previous years."

Good thinking - activate more prisons and cut $ for juveniles. Sustainable, forward thinking policy at its best.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23, 2012 8:15:27 PM

Yes, spending and borrowing on the federal level is as profligate as ever. The austerity is occurring on the state and local levels. Some economists have claimed that increase in federal spending has been completely offset by the decrease in state and local spending. It is no surprise that we see so many links here about states trying to save money in their criminal justice systems.

Posted by: Fred | Apr 26, 2012 9:46:14 AM

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