Justice Dept. Budget Focuses on Criminal Justice, Prison Reform

Post Date: March 4, 2014

(The Washington Post) — The Justice Department’s proposed $27.4 billion budget reflects Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s priority of criminal justice and prison reform.

Holder’s budget — $122 million above the 2014 enacted level — includes $173 million in targeted investments for criminal justice reform efforts.

The DOJ budget requests funding for Holder’s “smart on crime” initiative to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders in prison and reduce recidivism rates by expanding drug treatment programs.

It requests $15 million for U.S. attorneys, including prevention and reentry work and promoting alternatives to incarceration such as the establishment of drug courts and veteran courts.

Another $15 million would go towards expanding the federal residential drug abuse program, and $14 million would assist inmates with reentering society and reducing the population of individuals who return to prison after being released. An additional $14 million would expand the residential substance abuse treatment program at the state and local levels.

The DOJ budget also requests $115 million for the Second Chance Act grant program to reduce recidivism and help ex-offenders return to productive lives.

“Each dollar spent on prevention and reentry has the potential to save several dollars in incarceration costs,” Holder said in a statement.

“These wise investments can help make our criminal justice system more effective and efficient.” Read more