Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cuts to Federal Funding Jeopardize Criminal Justice Initiatives Nationwide, Survey Finds

Vital federal funding that supports a variety of crime-prevention strategies, treatment programs, and innovative initiatives in our communities has decreased by 43 percent since 2010, according to a recent survey conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) and National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA). The survey examines the impact those cuts have on essential programs and staffing levels across the nation.

The second annual survey of state and local criminal justice practitioners was conducted to gain insight into the impact of these budget cuts, both those enacted as well as those still to come. The survey received more than 1,200 responses from all sectors of the criminal justice community, including law enforcement, the judicial system, corrections and community corrections, juvenile justice and prevention programs, victim assistance programs, and social services. It found that more than 75 percent of respondents reported funding cuts that led to workforce reductions, salary freezes, and drastic curtailing of the services they provide. For example, of the 346 law enforcement respondents, 75 percent saw a cut in funding between 1 and 25 percent. Because of these cuts, 64 percent reported reduction in staffing, 63 percent reported a reduction in services provided, and 58 percent reported pay freezes.

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