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Criminal Justice Sequestration Sign-On Letter - 12-10-12 - Final With Signatures

Criminal Justice Sequestration Sign-On Letter - 12-10-12 - Final With Signatures

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Published by: The Vera Institute of Justice on Dec 10, 2012
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December 10, 2012The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnellMajority Leader Minority LeaderUnited States Senate United States SenateS-221, United States Capitol S-230, United States CapitolWashington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Nancy PelosiSpeaker Minority LeaderU.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of RepresentativesH-232, United States Capitol H-204, United States CapitolWashington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515Dear Senators and Congressmen:As Congress seeks to reach agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff, we write to urge you to adopt abalanced approach to deficit reduction which recognizes the significant contribution already made bythe non-defense discretionary (NDD) portion of the federal budget, including the Department of 
Justice’s
(DOJ) state and local justice assistance grant programs. Further cuts to NDD and the DOJ grantprograms will eviscerate the crucial role the federal government plays in crime control by the spurring of innovation, as well as the testing and replicating of evidence-based practices nationwide.Congress already has cut federal discretionary spending by well over $1 trillion over ten years throughthe Budget Control Act (BCA) and prior spending cuts. Since FY10, NDD spending has dropped by about17 percent. This means that by FY21, NDD spending as a share of the Gross Domestic Product will havedropped to just 2.8 percent, the lowest level since the 195
0’s.
And this is before the 8.2 percentautomatic across-the-board cuts required by the sequester in FY13 and the additional reductionsrequired by a lowering of the caps on discretionary spending each year through FY21.Moreover, the state and local justice assistance grant programs have fared far worse than NDD overall.The DOJ grant programs have contributed almost $1.5 billion to deficit reduction, a decrease of 43percent since FY10. Further, the state and local grant programs have borne
the lion’s share of DOJ’s
overall cuts in order to support increases in funding for the federal Bureau of Prisons, the FederalBureau of Investigation, and the other federal law enforcement and investigative agencies and activities.In FY11, the state and local grant programs were cut by about $900 million, more than the $700 million
cut from the Department’s budget overall.
In FY12, although overall funding for DOJ increased slightly,the grant programs were cut by another $570 million.We are deeply concerned that these past cuts, as well as those yet to come if sequestration is triggeredand the caps on overall discretionary spending are lowered further, will have a direct impact on thepublic safety and quality of life in our communities.Crime has dropped to the lowest
levels since the 1960’s. This is
due, in large measure, to advances incrime prevention and recidivism reduction supported by the federal grant programs. Because of federalsupport from the Department of Justice, we are able to test innovative strategies, measure results, andreplicate successful practices in additional communities.
 
Criminal justice is a complex system that is changing rapidly. Regional, national and even internationalgangs and drug trafficking organizations penetrate deeply into our cities and towns. For these reasonsand others, crime fighting today is very different than it was a decade ago. We recognize that criminal justice is a system that can only be successful if all parts of the system
 –
prevention, enforcement,courts, corrections, and community supports
 –
are in balance, utilize strategies rooted in data, andconsistently measure performance. The federal contribution to state and local criminal justice services isvery small (only 3.3 percent of the amount spent by state and local governments according to a 2008report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics), but it is the much-needed spark which allows state and localgovernments, as well as our organizations and local partners, to test new initiatives and coordinateacross the justice system to find solutions that work.Crime prevention is absolutely central to
our nation’s
economic recovery. Business does not investwhere crime flourishes. And individuals often need support, treatment, and tools for stable employmentif they are to become productive members of society who contribute to our nation
’s economic vitality.
 Finally, the federal grant programs have been the catalyst for many initiatives that have brought aboutcost savings and broad changes in state criminal justice policy. States serve as the laboratories for theseinitiatives which, once proven successful, can be replicated on the federal level. Texas, Ohio, Kansas,Michigan, and many other states have shown remarkable success in reducing crime, lowering recidivism,restoring families, and saving taxpayer money
 –
all at the same time. Programs based on the JusticeReinvestment model can be adopted in the federal prison system in order to reduce overcrowding,
break the cycle of recidivism, and reduce the rate of growth in the Bureau of Prisons’ budget.
 As practitioners and local, state, and national organizations that work across the entire criminal justicesystem - including juvenile delinquency prevention, crime prevention, law enforcement, victim services,prosecution, indigent defense, drug and other problem solving courts, corrections and communitycorrections, correctional reform, drug and substance abuse treatment, and post-correctional supportservices - we know first-hand the indispensable role the federal grants play in our success. The reductionin federal funding since FY10 has been truly devastating, as reported by respondents to a surveyconducted in the summer of 2012 by the National Criminal Justice Association and the Vera Institute of Justice. Crime fighting budgets have been slashed, jobs have been cut, and the impact has been feltacross the criminal justice system. (To read a summary of the survey results, visit www.ncja.org.) It is critically important that this federal, state, local partnership is cut no further.We thank you for the work you do, and we ask that any deficit reduction agreement avoid further cuts
to NDD and the Department of Justice’s state and local justice assistance grant programs.
 Sincerely,
National Organizations
Cabell Cropper, National Criminal Justice AssociationWashington, District of ColumbiaChristine Leonard, Director, Washington, DC Office, Vera Institute of JusticeWashington, District of ColumbiaMatthew Chase, Executive Director, National Association of CountiesWashington, District of Columbia
 
Carl Wicklund, Executive Director, American Probation and Parole AssociationLexington, KentuckyWest Huddleston, CEO, National Association of Drug Court ProfessionalsAlexandria, VirginiaWill Marling, Executive Director, National Organization for Victim AssistanceAlexandria, VirginiaAnn Harkins, President and CEO, National Crime Prevention CouncilArlington, VirginiaRobert Morrison, Executive Director, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse DirectorsWashington, District of ColumbiaTimothy Murray, Executive Director, Pretrial Justice InstituteWashington, District of ColumbiaJoan Weiss, Executive Director, Justice Research and Statistics AssociationWashington, District of ColumbiaArthur Dean, Chairman and CEO, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of AmericaAlexandria, VirginiaDan Eddy, Executive Director, National Association of Crime Victim Compensation BoardsAlexandria, VirginiaDoug Robinson, Executive Director, National Association of State Chief Information OfficersWashington, District of ColumbiaRita Smith, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic ViolenceDenver, ColoradoJacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American IndiansWashington, District of ColumbiaStew Rowles, Consultant, International Community Corrections AssociationWashington, District of ColumbiaMonica McLaughlin, Senior Public Policy Specialist, National Network to End Domestic ViolenceWashington, District of ColumbiaKiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Futures Without ViolenceWashington, District of ColumbiaSarah Bryer, Director, National Juvenile Justice NetworkWashington, District of ColumbiaMel Wilson, Manager, National Association of Social WorkersWashington, District of ColumbiaShaena Fazal, National Policy Director, Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.Washington, District of Columbia

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