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March 30, 2011

Are we really "at a critical moment for public safety in the United States"?

The question in the title of this post is inspired by a phrase used by Laurie Robinson, the Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Office of Justice Programs, in her testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (available here). Here is the context:

Mr. Chairman, I believe we’re at a critical moment for public safety in the United States. Crime rates, as you know, have fallen in recent years thanks to innovative criminal justice approaches and visionary police leadership.  At the same time, state, local and tribal public safety agencies across the country are facing significant budget-related challenges that threaten their ability to do their jobs.  I think we have a responsibility at the federal level to see that they have the tools and knowledge they need to fight crime in the most effective way possible.

OJP’s mission is to help reduce crime and improve the administration of justice by promoting innovation, supporting research, and providing strategically targeted assistance.  The President’s FY 2012 request reflects three central themes: enhancing partnerships; strengthening science and evidence-based programming; and ensuring effective stewardship of federal funds.

Because I am not a budget maven and do not follow federal justice expenditures that closely, I do not know if President Obama's budget proposals for DOJ in general or for OJP in particular are ideal or even sound.  But I do know that political rhetoric in recent election cycles has given precious little attention to crime and punishment issues.  But perhaps it is only politicians and the voters they are trying to influence who do not realize that we are at a critical moment for public safety in the United States.

March 30, 2011 at 03:41 PM | Permalink


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I think this ignores the unreported crimes perpetrated by some law emdorcment.

Posted by: Sud Vicious | Mar 31, 2011 3:39:47 PM

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