AG (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO ON THE 3rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE CRIME ACT WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General Janet Reno today issued the following statement on the third anniversary of the signing of the Crime Act: "Three years ago this week, President Clinton signed the toughest and most sensible crime bill in this nation's history. It had policing, prevention and punishment, and it is one of the most important reasons that crime has been falling every year since it was enacted. In the past three years, we have funded more than 65,000 community police officers. Thousands of these officers are walking the beat and working with citizens, community leaders and young people to fight crime and, indeed, to prevent it. And thanks to the Crime Act, we have strengthened our laws and toughened our punishments, and in more instances made sentences mean what they say. "Three strikes" is the law of the land, and we have given every state grants totaling more than $600 million, to put more violent offenders behind bars, and to create new facilities, appropriate facilities, for non-violent offenders. The Crime Act is also helping us prevent crimes before they occur. One way to break the cycle of crime is to deal with the issue by helping to support drug treatment programs for prisoners who will eventually return to society. In virtually every state, we are helping to support such programs. It has made no sense to me to see people go to prison for a serious crime, knowing that they had a drug abuse problem, and taking no steps to intervene at that point to interrupt that cycle of drug usage. We've also helped more than 250 cities and towns create drug courts, with grants totaling more than $45 million. The results: drug courts have helped cut recidivism in cities like Austin, Los Angeles and Baltimore. Just last week I had the opportunity to see a drug court in action in St. Louis, and can see the direct human impact and difference it can make to so many people. The Crime Bill is also preventing crime by fighting violence against women. We have paid out more than $275 million in grants

to develop and strengthen law enforcement and offer more victim services, such as toll-free hotlines, emergency shelters and to develop programs that can interrupt the cycle of domestic violence. I have long said that unless we really focus on how to end violence in the home, we're never going to end it in the streets and in the schools of America. So many Americans have seen crime fall in their neighborhoods. In fact, serious crime has declined every year since the Crime Act was signed. But we still have a long way to go. The Crime Act was the right thing to do then -- and it has made a difference. It is now important that we build on our progress through continued cooperation with state and local enforcement and through the development of prevention programs that can give our youngsters a chance for a strong and positive future." ### 97-382