2.26.18 – Justice Assistance Funding

Dear Chairmen Cochran, Shelby, Culberson, Frelinghuysen, and Ranking Members Leahy, Shaheen, Lowey, and Serrano:

Thank you for Congress’ recent passage of the FY18 Continuing Resolution that raises the budget caps for FY18 and FY19 defense and non-defense discretionary spending. This funding is needed to sustain critical non- defense discretionary programs that help to support and protect our communities nationwide. As you turn now to fully appropriate these funds, the undersigned organizations urge you to protect and sustain funding for the key justice assistance grant programs within the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Violence Against Women, and COPS Office in the final FY18 and FY19 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bills, including subcommittee allocations robust enough to accommodate these programs. Each of these programs supports the federal government’s crucial role in spurring innovation, as well as testing and replicating evidence-based practices nationwide.

Federal funding to support such programming has declined steeply in recent years. Since FY10, the state and local justice assistance grant programs have been cut by up to 40 percent, with several programs cut much more deeply. These reductions come at a cost; many proven programs and new innovations to protect victims, prevent crime, and reduce recidivism are being curbed or eliminated entirely. Further, reductions in these programs would put public safety at risk and retreat from Congress’s commitments to funding programs that improve state, local and tribal justice systems, advance best practices, reduce costs, and help achieve an effective balanced justice system overall.

The criminal justice system can only be successful and fair if all parts of the system – prevention, enforcement, courts, corrections, victim assistance, and community-based interventions and supports – are in balance, utilize effective strategies, and measure performance. Furthermore these innovations have led to a reduction in homicides and rape kit backlogs; specialized victims services; an effective collaboration between victim service providers and law enforcement; and a range of programs to improve outcomes related to reentry, youth justice, wrongful conviction, mental illness and addiction, and other challenges faced by communities nationwide.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this very important issue. We look forward to working with you as you complete the FY18 appropriations bill and begin the FY19 appropriations process.


Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies (ASCIA)

American Psychological Association

Arizona Gang Investigators Association, Inc.

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Break the Cycle

Campaign for Youth Justice

Center for Children’s Law and Policy

Center for Court Innovation

Center for Employment Opportunities

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

Council of State Governments Justice Center

Forum for Youth Investment

Futures Without Violence

Healthy Teen Network

Innocence Project

International Community Corrections Association

International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association

International Union of Police Associations

Just Detention International

Justice Consultants, LLC

Justice Policy Institute

Justice Programs Office, American University

Juvenile Justice Coalition (Ohio)

Juvenile Law Center

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Legal Action Center (LAC) and National H.I.R.E. Network

Major Cities Chiefs Association

Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA)

Midwest Gang Investigators Association


National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations

National Association of Drug Court Professionals

National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies

National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Congress of American Indians

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

National Crime Prevention Council

National Criminal Justice Association

National District Attorneys Association

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Juvenile Justice Network

National League of Cities

National Network for Youth

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Youth Employment Coalition

North Carolina Gang Investigators Association

Pretrial Justice Institute

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Safer Foundation

School Social Work Association of America

SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics


The Sentencing Project

Treatment Communities of America