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The Impact of Federal Budget Cuts on State and Local Public Safety

Federal Public Safety Funding at Historically Low Levels
Over the past two years, federal support for the criminal justice assistance grant programs through the Department ofJustice has been decreased by 43 percent.Some programs have been eliminated; others have taken deep cuts. For instance, since FY2012 the Byrne Justice AssistanceGrant (Byrne JAG) program has been cut by 34 percent, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring grantsby 44 percent, the in-person drug treatment supported by the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners(RSAT) program by 67 percent, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by 75 percent, the juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives funded by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Part A (JJDPA) by more than 50 percent, and reimbursement to state and local governments though the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) by 27 percent.
These programs are at historically low levels of funding. The additional deep cuts mandated by sequestration could leave the federal-state-local public safety partnership virtually unfunded by FY2021. 
 
Surveying the Field
To better understand the impact of cuts already enacted and cuts anticipated by sequestration, the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) and the Vera Institute of Justice conducted a survey of state and local criminal justice stakeholder organizations in the summer of 2012. A total of 714 organizations responded to the survey, the majority representing state and local law enforcement agencies. The survey asked respondents to describe the impact of recent cuts in their communities. 
 
What the Survey Found
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents reported that their grant funding has decreased since FY11. Of those, nearly half (44 percent) reported a decrease in funding of at least one-third. Also, 14 percent reported that their grant funds had been cut by more than half. In addition, 52 percent of respondents reported a reduction in their organization’s workforce by, on average, 3.4 full-time equivalent employees. It is important to note that at the time of the survey, the FY12 grant funding had not yet been released. Therefore, these responses reflect only cuts in FY11 funding
 

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