Part 2 of NASW’s analysis of President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget addresses Department of Justice (DOJ) provisions. Several programs and services that align with key NASW public policies receive renewed attention and increased funding.
Department of Justice
- President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget proposal for the Department of Justice calls for $173 million in targeted investments for criminal justice reform efforts. The FY 2015 request represents a $122 million increase over the FY 2014 level.
- The President’s budget request seeks to put critical resources behind the Attorney General’s “Smart on Crime” initiative—a package of reforms to the criminal justice system to help ensure that federal laws are enforced more fairly and more efficiently.Among other reforms, “Smart on Crime” promotes diversion courts and other alternatives to incarceration for low-level drug offenders, and urges investment in reentry programs in order to reduce recidivism among formerly incarcerated individuals.
- In addition to funds routinely provided for federal prisoner reentry efforts, the FY 2015 budget requests:
- $15 million for U.S. Attorneys, including prosecution prioritization, prevention and reentry work and promoting alternatives to incarceration such as the establishment of drug courts and veteran courts;
- $15 million for the Bureau of Prisons to expand the Residential Drug Abuse Program at the federal level and $14 million provided in the FY 2014 appropriation to assist inmates with reentering society and reducing the population of individuals who return to prison after being released;
- $14 million in the Office of Justice Programs to expand the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program at the state and local level
- $115 million for the Second Chance Act Grant program to reduce recidivism and help ex-offenders return to productive lives.
- DOJ enforcement of federal civil rights laws include:
- human trafficking
- hate crimes
- police misconduct
- fair housing
- fair lending
- disability rights
- DOJ’s civil rights programs will get $272.6 million in total funding
- $7.3 million for programs that require further investment, such as human trafficking, hate crimes, voting rights enforcement, and enforcement of the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act. In addition, funds are requested to expand civil and criminal enforcement efforts in combating police misconduct.
- $257,000 to support an expansion in workload and responsibilities related to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). The HCPA has greatly expanded the CRS’s mandate, requiring the CRS to help communities prevent and respond to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability in addition to race, color, and national origin.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice FY 2015 Budget Request