SENATE APPROVES KOHL INITIATIVE TO RESTORE CRIME-FIGHTING FUNDING IN SENATE BUDGET
President's Budget would dramatically cut Juvenile Justice, COPS, anti-drug efforts
The U.S. Senate-passed Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2006 includes a bipartisan amendment, authored by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, to restore $500 million in federal funding for a number of successful Department of Justice crime-fighting programs that are cut under the President's budget proposal. Kohl's initiative would restore funding to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, the COPS program, and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Each of those programs is dramatically cut under the President's budget proposal. The Senate passed its fiscal year 2006 Budget Resolution last night. Kohl is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Corrections and Victims Rights and has been a strong supporter of these programs.
"Each of these programs has made real contributions to our fight against crime. Talk to those on the front line of this fight -- our local law enforcement -- and they will tell you how vital this funding is to keeping our neighborhoods safe. The investments we make today will have a positive impact far into the future, which is why I'm pleased the Senate has provided this additional funding," Kohl said.
The President's reduced budget for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention would result in the elimination of the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program (JABG) and the slashing of the Title V Delinquency Prevention Program. JABG provides funding for intervention programs that address the urgent needs of juveniles who have had run-ins with the law. The JABG program has had success in reducing juvenile crime. In Wisconsin, for instance, the Southern Oaks Girls School, a juvenile detention center outside of Racine, built a new mental health wing to provide much-needed counseling services for the girl inmates. The Administrator of this school cites a 56 drop in violent behavior since the new mental services have been offered. Title V is the only federal program solely dedicated to juvenile crime prevention.
The President's budget proposal would also provide no funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, which pays for state and local drug task forces, community crime prevention programs, substance abuse treatment programs, prosecution initiatives, and many other local crime control programs.
The COPS program would also be drastically cut under the Administration's budget. Under the President's proposal, popular initiatives like the COPS Universal Hiring Program and the COPS Technology Grants Program would be eliminated. In just the last two years alone, 38 law enforcement officers were added in Wisconsin through the COPS program and more than $113 has been awarded to Wisconsin since the program begin in 1993.
Finally, the Senate increased funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). The HIDTA program is a vital collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement to combat drug trafficking through intelligence-gathering and cooperation. This proposed cut in the overall HIDTA program would threaten the future of smaller HIDTAs like a program in Milwaukee that has been extremely successful in stemming crime.