By CSG Justice Center Staff
Recently President Trump unveiled his $4.1 trillion 2018 budget proposal, which allocates $27.7 billion for Department of Justice programs, including programs aimed at increasing public safety and reducing recidivism at the state and local level.
The proposed budget provides $48 million in continued support for the Second Chance Act (SCA). SCA—which was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008—authorizes federal grants for evidence-based programs and systems reforms aimed at improving outcomes for people returning to their communities after incarceration and reducing recidivism. Since 2009, more than 800 SCA grants have been awarded to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles. And more than 137,000 people returning to their community after incarceration have participated in these programs.
Additionally, the budget proposes $22 million for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which helps state and local governments conduct comprehensive, data-driven analyses of their criminal justice systems and adopt evidence-based policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. Because of federal investments in JRI, since 2010 30 states have pursued justice reinvestment-related policies, which have slowed overall prison growth and, in some states, reduced the total prison population. Through justice reinvestment, together these states reported cost savings exceeding $1.1 billion in averted prison operating and construction costs while also investing hundreds of millions in effective supervision and treatment programs to make communities safer.
President Trump’s budget proposal also includes $10 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). MIOTCRA was signed into law in 2004 and created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program to help state and local governments and tribal communities improve responses to people with mental illnesses who are in the criminal justice system. The program facilitates collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and behavioral health systems to better serve people with mental illnesses and to increase public safety. To date, MIOTCRA appropriations have funded 121 mental health courts and other court-based initiatives, supported more than 100 local police and county sheriff departments, and provided a total of 380 grants to 47 states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam, and American Samoa.
Below is a breakdown of key criminal justice programs in President Trump’s budget proposal.
These funding levels for 2018 will not be finalized until Congress passes the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. Recently, a bipartisan group of members of Congress signaled their support for robust funding for SCA, JRI, and MIOTCRA by signing letters of support for all three programs.